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Hoaxy, IU’s New Online Tool Tracks How Fake News Spread in Mainstream Medias

Dec 23, 2016 11:40 AM EST
IU researchers develop new online tool to track how news spread online. (Photo : Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

The recent rise of different social media platforms made it possible for anyone with the Smartphone or laptop to share and spread stories and news to people all over the globe. However, experts have warned many times that not everything you read online is real.

Due to the potential of fake news and misinformation to lead the general public into believing something that is completely made up and acting upon that belief, a team of researchers from Indiana University developed a new online tool that could track how news are spread through the web.

"It is a very serious problem," said Filippo Menczer, director of IU's Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research and the brain behind the new online tool, in a report from Reuters. "Social media makes it more likely that I am more exposed to false information that I am likely to believe."

The online tool, dubbed as Hoaxy, was not made to determine the authenticity of online news. However, it can track how the news spread online.

In order to use Hoaxy, a user must first search news or a claim. The tool will then search articles related to what the user search. Articles related to the search will be shown in green, while fact check articles from third party websites appear in yellow.

The visualize button on top of the tool's webpage will create a virtual web of the people who publicly shared a related article. Clicking each link will show what was shared and who passed it on.

While the their website can't really show if a certain news is fake, the researchers noted that journalists, students and lay people could use their online tool to track the news and check fact checking articles. By doing so, users of Hoaxy could decide by themselves if they will believe a certain news or not.

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