Fake news has emerged as a growing issue in the U.S., and researchers have developed a new tool how it spreads online. The tool called Hoaxy creates a visualization of how stories spread through social network sites like Facebook and Twitter.
The influence of fake news in the U.S. has grown from a place, concern to a phenomenon with the power to sway public opinion. It also illustrates how a story spreads by analyzing diffusion patterns in data. Hoaxy is a move to understand and limit the spread of fake news which can at times cause panic.
Hoaxy also tracks the spread of fact-checking articles, which according to their website, it is usually 10-20 hours behind fake news stories and do not get shared nearly as often as fake-news.
According to Hoaxy’s FAQ page, searches are automated and compared to potential fake news stories with fact checking article. They also point out that not all articles listed are fakes, and that some may display bias. As it has already pointed out on Media Bias/Fact Check, there is a significant difference between bias and facts.
Hoaxy also attempts to fact check different stories through independent fact-checkers like snopes.com and politifact.com. A professor at IU’s School of Informatics and Computing, Filippo Menczer, said Hoaxy does not itself determine the truth of stories, it only shows the trends around the story.
Menczer said in the press release. ‘’Hoaxy is a tool to observe how unverified stories and the fact-checking of those stories spread on the public social media.’’ Currently, Hoaxy is only working on Twitter and only public tweets can appear in Hoaxy visualization. Additionally, to stop the growing influence of fake news in our society, the first thing to do is to understand the mechanism behind how it spreads.
The tool is new, so Menczer is hoping the general public, journalists and researchers will use it and give feedback. As for whether people in the general public want to know if an article is real or not.
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