Online tools to identify and counter misinformation on the internet

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IN an era where misinformation proliferates online, the need for effective tools to identify and counter false information has become increasingly urgent.

From fact-checking platforms to browser extensions, a myriad of innovative solutions has emerged to empower users in discerning truth from fiction in the digital realm.

These tools not only serve to safeguard individuals against the pitfalls of misinformation but also play a crucial role in upholding the integrity of information ecosystems.

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One of such tools is the Get It Right co-developed by the FactCheckHub, ICIR and the Digital Public Square. The FactCheckHub has compiled a list of other tools that can detect and combat misinformation online.

 

Adblock Plus

Adblock Plus functions as a browser extension and application designed to block advertisements and websites by utilising filtering lists.

Initially developed as an adblocker, the tool has expanded its scope to enable users to shield themselves from intrusive ads and potentially harmful sites, including those disseminating misinformation.

It automatically permits ads that comply with the “acceptable ads” criteria, allowing them to evade blocking. Users have the option to opt out of these ads by customising their settings.

To use Adblockplus to block adverts on websites, you have to install or add it to your browser extension as it automatically blocks ads from pops up on any website you visit.

To disable online tracking to stop companies or trackers from collecting your browsing history data across multiple websites, you can do this by installing and enabling the “EasyPrivacy” filterlist subscription; thereafter, click on “Add”.

 

Bot Sentinel

Bot Sentinel is a free platform designed to identify and monitor trollbots and dubious X profiles. Utilizing machine learning and artificial intelligence, Bot Sentinel assesses X accounts to categorize them as reliable or suspicious, with a specific focus on detecting bots.

These identified accounts are then cataloged in a database and monitored daily. The gathered data is utilized by developers to analyze the impact of bots and their propaganda on online discussions and to devise strategies to combat their dissemination of information.

Accounts with a substantial follower count and a significant proportion of misleading or factually inaccurate posts may be categorized as untrustworthy. This tool is essential for fact-checkers in analysing coordinated disinformation campaign and influence operations.

To use Bot Sentinel,

  1. You have to analyze the account or post, by clicking click on the red “Analyze Account” button.
creenshot of the steps to take on the webpage.
Screenshot of the steps to take on the webpage.

2. Bot Sentinel will evaluate the account or post and assign it a rating as either “Normal,” “Satisfactory,” “Disruptive,” or “Problematic” once you enter the account handle or the whole post URL and then click “Submit.”

3. For further information, click “View Profile.” This will provide you with the account’s score history on Bot Sentinel, as well as a list of frequently used terms, hashtags, and URLs.

4. To search accounts that Bot Sentinel has already examined by category, scroll to “Analyzed Accounts” on the left menu bar.

Screenshot of the action extracted from the website.
Screenshot of the step taken on the website.

Botometer X

Botometer X (formerly Botometer), is an online tool that employs machine learning to categorize X accounts as either bot or human based on various profile features such as connections, social network layout, activity over time, language usage, and sentiment. It generates a comprehensive bot score ranging from 0 to 5, along with additional scores that offer insights into the probability of an account being a bot.

This tool is mostly used by fact-checkers and investigative journalists for investigating cyber attacks and any other digital investigation.

To use Botometer X,

  1. You need to have an X account to use this tool. After clicking on the website, it requires you to log into your X account.
  2. After logging in, then type the name of the user you want to check and click on check user.
  3. It would analyze the data from the account and produce a score between 0-5 to indicate if the account is a Bot or operated by a human.

Note that Botometer X  is currently in archival mode, and the results were pre-calculated based on historical data collected before May 31, 2023.

 

Misinformation Detector

Misinformation Detector is a blockchain-based web tool for credibility scoring and verification developed by BitPress which is known as a “decentralized trust protocol,” aiming to transparently monitor the credibility of news. It evaluates trust by scrutinizing content and its connections, forming a network illustrating how information circulates among media outlets.

This tool endeavours to counter disinformation directly by offering users evaluations of information accuracy and credibility. It identifies and rectifies false or misleading content, aiding readers in discerning between trustworthy and untrustworthy sources of information.

The tool integrates fact-checking services, utilizing a blend of human fact-checkers and blockchain technology. Journalists and publishers have the option to register as partners to access this tool.

 

Who Targets Me

Who Targets Me is a disinformation tracking tool where users can establish an anonymous profile with this tool to gather data on political and other advertisements they encounter, including insights into the reasons behind their targeting which helps in investigating influence operation and state-sponsored disinformation.

It also offers users statistics on the entities targeting them, contributing to the construction of a comprehensive database on political advertising and targeting.

Who Targets Me aims to enhance users’ understanding of online targeting, fostering awareness of targeted advertisements and disinformation to bolster resilience against them.

Similarly, it constructs a repository of political advertisements and targeting, with the intention of exerting pressure on major tech firms to amend practices concerning transparency and the management of political ads.

To use Who Targets Me,

  1. You need to install the browser extension on your Chrome or FireFox or Safari or Microsoft Edge web browser.
  2. Click the Who Targets Me icon in the toolbar of your browser after installing the extension.
  3. You can see the findings displayed by surfing results.whotargets.me or by clicking the Who Targets Me extension icon in your browser’s toolbar whenever you start seeing political advertisements. Alternatively, you can visit the website directly or bookmark it.
  4. It would break down the results into a summary of why you are being targeted, who is targeting you, other Who Targets Me users and so on.

 

Schema.org’s Claim Review

Schema.org’s claim review is a credibility scoring tool. The “ClaimReview” label is affixed to any website content to furnish search engines with insights into the content’s nature.

This label may include a fact-check designation for content that undergoes fact-checking by reputable sources and organizations, with the goal of furnishing users with more precise information. Consequently, such content will display with a “Fact-Check” tag when appearing in search engine results.

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The tool employs evaluations and scoring of source credibility, considering factors like accuracy and objectivity, to direct readers towards higher-quality information and away from lower-quality sources online.

 

Fakey

Fakey is an online interactive educational platform created to enhance media literacy skills. It showcases news articles featuring elements of clickbait, fake news, conspiracy theories, and more. Users are prompted to decide whether to share, conceal, or fact-check the presented information. The objective is to offer users practical experience in distinguishing between true and false information.

The goal of this tool is to combat disinformation by cultivating a community of information consumers who possess improved abilities to recognize and steer clear of false information on the internet.

Fact-checker at The FactheckHub | [email protected] | + posts

Seasoned fact-checker and researcher Fatimah Quadri has written numerous fact-checks, explainers, and media literacy pieces for The FactCheckHub in an effort to combat information disorder. She can be reached at sunmibola_q on X or [email protected].

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