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Adblock Plus maker eyeo launches free browser extension to spot fake news

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Today, Adblock Plus maker eyeo launches a free web browser extension called Trusted News to help web surfers spot fake news sources.

Currently in beta, Trusted News keeps users’ web browsing history completely private, and is available for Chrome browsers on the Google Chrome Web Store or at www.trusted-news.com.

browser extension fake news
Till Faida

“Fake news is profoundly affecting our society and our ability to make informed decisions as citizens. While we don’t profess to have solved the entire problem yet, we are proud to launch Trusted News as a first, humble step that we will continue to improve as it pushes beyond beta,” said eyeo CEO Till Faida in a statement.

Developed in partnership with MetaCert Protocol, eyeo’s Trusted News extension works by checking domains, websites, and news sources against the world’s largest network of fact-checking databases.

Fact-Checking Fake News

The classification of each news source is taken from fact-checking organizations and stored in the MetaCert Protocol registry to provide unbiased, democratically assessed information on the integrity of each website and news source.

 “Trusted News is still new, but there are two secrets in the sauce. First, it is a solution for users, not an ambitious plan to reform platforms or information sources; and second, it separates the fact-checkers determining what is fake and what is not from the actual product applying the determination,” said Faida.

To create an unbiased Trusted News service, the MetaCert Protocol aggregated trust and reputation data from politically independent fact-checking organizations and news sources worldwide, including PolitiFact, Snopes, Wikipedia, Zimdars’ List, and private data sources.

These trust signals were organized into one machine-readable database and then cross-referenced with associated social media accounts across the entire web to create the world’s most comprehensive crowd-sourced reputation database.

Users of Trusted News can also contribute to the registry of sites by reporting for evaluation any news sources and other websites that they may discover.

In-browser Privacy

In order to maintain each user’s privacy while using Trusted News, the extension updates its own internal database each day so that users’ browsing activity never touches a central server.

After installing the Trusted News extension into their browsers, users can navigate to websites as usual, but they will now notice a green check-mark or other flags on the extension indicating the nature of the sources used by that website.

Besides a green check-mark indicating trustworthiness, other flags mark sites as biased, untrustworthy, satire, clickbait, user-generated content, malicious or unknown.

Blockchain Ambitions

To further scale and incentivize community participation in this massive anti-fake news effort, MetaCert will be moving the core database to the Ethereum blockchain with a new protocol and built-in game mechanics to reward submissions. MetaCert tokens will be issued to track rewards and mitigate the risk of bad actors spoiling the quality of the data.

The MetaCert Protocol is an open security protocol for the internet, storing trust and reputation information about Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs) including domain names, applications, bots, social media accounts, cryptocurrency wallet addresses, Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), and content classification.

The Protocol’s registry, built on the Ethereum blockchain, is machine-readable and queryable for use by Internet Service Providers (ISPs), routers, crypto exchanges, Wi-Fi hotspots, mobile devices, browsers, websites, and applications to help address cyber threats such as phishing, malware, online brand protection, child safety and news credibility.

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Tim Hinchliffe
Tim Hinchliffe is a veteran journalist whose passions include writing about how technology impacts society and Artificial Intelligence. He prefers writing in-depth, interesting features that people actually want to read. Previously, he worked as a reporter for the Ghanaian Chronicle in West Africa, and Colombia Reports in South America. tim@sociable.co