Authentic

The future of informed news reading - stop fake news! A browser extension that finds the "real" news article when you visit a misleading web site.

Download the app on Chrome

Authentic News

Authentic is a Chrome extension that aims to combat the spread of misinformation by notifying users when they browse to a website that may be spreading misinformation. Not only that, but the extension also automatically seeks out and finds a relevant article and source of the same topic from a more reputable source.

Downloading

You can download the Authentic app from the Chrome Webstore!

Livestream

The entire process of creating the extension was documented via a YouTube livestream (at the time of writing, was quickly approaching 14 hours long), which can be viewed below.

Inspiration

On November 7th, the Borderline shooting occurred in Thousand Oaks. Absolutely shocked to see Thousand Oaks next to the words “mass shooting” all over the internet, we tried to look for productive discussion on how to decrease mass shootings in order to find solace. However, all we found were factually incorrect argumentative comments and people labeling each other as “communist liberals” and “white elitists.” Thus, we created Authentic to help people stop basing their arguments on false information and come to an agreement on the science and academia behind each controversial issue. This will help bridge the political polarization in our country and promote product conversation amongst citizens so that we can solidify the past and present for a better tomorrow.

Purpose

The extension serves to detect the domain that the user is currently browsing and compares it against a database of websites that are known to be either “trustworthy” or “untrustworthy.” This is decided based on a database compiled by MediaBiasFactCheck.com’s analysis on the factual reporting of the website source. If the website may be untrustworthy, we then display a banner that alerts the user, notifying them that they are browsing a potentially untrustworthy website. To remedy this, we provide a link to a recommended article that is relevant to the topic they are currently reading about from a trusted news source instead. We also provide users with additional links to articles should they choose to look for additional sources.

Our Takeaways

Building this web extension was a very challenge experience for us because we were not familiar with JavaScript. However, we were able to learn the syntax and accomplish our project with research, (little sleep!) and patience. Trough the process we also discovered many news changes we always thought were credible but were actually deemed as mixed factual quality by MediaBiasFactCheck.org which further proves how significant our web extension is for everyone.

What’s Next for Authentic

Due to financial constraints, our custom Google search engine is limited to 10 website sources (the free tier). In our current version, we have a database of about 100 credible sources. For the future, we would like to expand our database. One way to do this is to implement a user feedback feature to allow users to send us updates of news sites. Currently, we generalize publishers as “credible” or “incredible”, but we would like to specifically identify articles and facts that are incorrect. Another feature we would like to introduce is suggestion of opposite bias sources. For instance, if you are reading about immigration on Fox News (right biased) we offer you an article on the same topic from a left bias source such as US News. Adding source preferences is also a feature we would like to implement in the future to personalize the experience for each individual.