People Can't Tell Fake News From Real News, So This Website Does it for Us
Fake news is the scourge of our time. After all, not everyone takes the trouble to stop and consider whether the articles they share on Facebook actually come from credible sources. This is why a group of fourth-year Information Technology students from Holy Angel University, Angeles City have developed TUTÛ, a nifty web app that aggregates news from credible sources and plots them on a map. We reached out to Gabriel Ocampo, Vince Aldrin Cabrera, Francis Taberdo, and Iah Buenacosa, who created TUTÛ as part of their thesis project.
"Initially, we only wanted to map the articles in their respective locations. Then, in light of the increasing emergence of misinformation due to the spread of 'fake news,' we decided to build a web application which can help mitigate this phenomenon. We wanted our thesis project to not only be a group project, but something which can leave a mark on society," Cabrera says on behalf of their group.
The app takes its name from the Kapampangan word “tutu,” which means “truth” or “true.” In order to make sure that the articles they collect come from trustworthy sources, the team behind TUTÛ asked veteran journalists to vet their list of credible news portals. The app also scores the credibility of a website and its content using a trained machine-learning model.
"According to American Software Engineer Eric Schmidt, machine learning is like reading tea leaves. Because it's about recognizing patterns in data in order to predict what comes next. Except it works," Cabrera explains. "Basically, we have a list of news sites that are vetted by professional journalists [into] credible and not credible. Then once we've determined through them what sites were real and 'fake,' we look for certain patterns and feed them to our algorithm so it can learn to predict whether a news site is credible or not credible."
They decided to plot the articles on a map to make the interface more visually appealing. "Plus, we also aim to help the users find 'credible' news in their vicinity or specific places they want to read," Cabrera adds. "We also used the map to cluster data and display insights. Our insights feature is contingent to the area view of the map. Meaning, if our area of view is limited to the province of Pampanga, the projected insights such as the most occurring category, say 'crime,' depending on the occurrence, can tell us that there is a surge in crime rate in Pampanga based on the graph."
When you click on a number on the map, an overview of the articles related to that particular location will pop up. The overview displays information like keywords, the organizations and people mentioned, and related articles.
If you aren’t sure whether an article you’ve encountered comes from a credible source, you can submit it for evaluation by clicking the detective icon in the sidebar. You can also choose to see the most popular or most recent stories using the sidebar.
TUTÛ is still under development, with more updates in the pipeline. Since they created the website for their thesis project, students behind TUTÛ have also created a form where visitors can evaluate their app. Plus points for producing such a socially relevant project.
You can reach Gabriel Ocampo, Vince Aldrin Cabrera, Francis Taberdo, and Iah Buenacosa at [email protected].