Beautiful Minds: Shutting Down the Fake News Sites

Beautiful Minds:  Shutting Down the Fake News Sites!

By: Sandra M. Speed

While it has always been a problem, the fake news site have proliferated during this past election cycle.  Regardless of your political ideology, I would suspect you want your news feeds to be accurate and truthful!

I have a number of friends that are newscasters, journalists, television and radio personalities, you would think that the posts they share would be from a credible news source, think again!  Today so many of us, myself included, rely on our Smartphones and social media sites for our news.  Since we are scrolling through our Smartphones constantly, we want to ensure that we can rely on the news that we read.

Why do people post fake news?  One reason is that it can generate money, if you click through there are advertising dollars that can be made.

While several Social Media sites initially shrugged off this phenomena it is now looking at ways to control and eliminate those fake news sites.  Facebook, Google and Twitter are looking at ways to stop the madness.   While they are working on it, I will provide the 6 C’s to keep you from sharing fake news sites:

  1. Check which news outlet published the content
  2. Check the URL names on the pages
  3. Check the published date and time
  4. Check out the author
  5. Check out suspected quotes and photos
  6. Check your bias at the door, just because you want to believe something doesn’t mean it’s true!

Beautiful Minds

Recently, some young students at Princeton came up with a way to detect fake news site.  They met at a “Hackathon” contest and were successful in creating “FiB.”

Here is the video of one of the students, Anant Goel being interviewed by CBS News, explaining how it works!




This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Beautiful Minds: Shutting Down the Fake News Sites

  1. Eunhye says:

    Hi Sandra,

    Wow, what an inspiring post! I love your topic as I’ve often experienced the confusion, disconnection, and misunderstanding about the fake news. Sometimes, the fake news remains as a real sense of what’s going on, and I make a fool of myself in front of others. Fake news is so toxic and disrespectful. I remember reading a news article that Clinton blamed for FB for spreading a fake news about FBI’s investigating which negatively affected the voters. This may or may not be true, but it is scary to think about how influential the fake news can be for such an important events and occasions.

    Thank you for providing a tip to filter out the fake new. This information will be very helpful!

    Great post!

    Claire (Eunhye) Kim

  2. Felicia says:


    This post is right on time, with the epidemic of fake news and not realizing their can be consequences to these articles. Yesterday in Washington, DC a young man took to a pizza place with a gun, because of fake news. It’s being referred to as pizzagate.

    I think people are attracted to fake news because some of it appeals to what they want to believe. With the rise of people self publishing blogs, and articles, anyone can take a spin on a topic so they can have their 15 minutes of fame.

    I have friends that post articles from various sites and although I would like some of the information to be true, I find myself doing multiple searches on the topic to see if (1) the platform is credible, and (2) if other credible sources are referencing or talking about the same topic. Sometimes I find myself spending more time researching to see if the information is correct than the time it will take to read the article.

    I also blame this on the Research Methods class from USC, lol. I question everything I see out there.

  3. Jennifer Eting says:

    Hi Sandra,

    Thanks for posting this. I have been wondering about all the fake news out there lately. Sometimes it is obvious, but sometimes it isn’t. And many people won’t even question the authenticity of the “news.” Just think of all the false information out there.

    I really enjoyed the video interview with the student from Purdue. I love the fact that they developed a solution in such a short time. It really puts the pressure on the giants like Facebook and Google, regardless of the complexities that he mentioned in the interview. If four college students can put their heads together and come up with a solution that quickly, then why can’t Facebook or Google?


  4. Manfred says:

    You all need to watch the Lisa Ling’s Hack-a-thon episode of “this is life”.

    CNN go if you have it. It goes into how these hack-a-thons work. I want to say that “Hack-Sourcing” is going to be one of the ways that we find some of the digital answers that we are searching for (and unfortunately some of the ones that we are not). This is amazing. These kids are amazing. Keep this up and I will start to have confidence in this country’s future.


  5. Kristina says:

    Interesting post! I liked the information of what I can do in the mean time and video of what these student accomplished. It’s sad our world has turned to such a drastic rise in fake news, but I’m glad it’s not only being noticed, but being stopped.

  6. Carolyn says:

    Great post! Way to go, students! We deal with “fake news” constantly and the need to be ever vigilant about checking our sources where I work at a college. It’s such a pressing problem, and add to that the number of biased bloggers who spew hate and divisiveness and help push many of the fake news stories to go viral. We dealt with an issue last year leading up to our commencement; Madeleine Albright was the invited commencement speaker, and there were groups on campus (mainly faculty) who opposed her as a speaker because of her involvement with certain issues when she was Secretary of State. It went public, and suddenly the right-wing bloggers were all over us, calling our students and faculty “snowflakes.” Sigh. Then the board wants to know why there’s so much negative news out there. It’s a messy social world out there, and navigating it gets trickier every day!

  7. Barbie says:

    Thanks for sharing this! I’m happy to see that these students were both inspired and able to develop a tool for this. Obviously, there’s no single tool that can provide 100% accuracy.

    I only wish that Facebook and Google would move faster. The issue lies in the ad revenue they’ve made and stand to continue making from the fake news advertisers.

  8. Dawn says:

    Hi Sandra,

    This is great story all around. Nice to see young technologists interested in solving this problem. I suspect the problem is ony going to get worse unless more can be done about it, but this is a positive initial step. Wishing the stedents continued success

  9. Christina says:

    Hi Sandra,

    Fake news is, simply put, a lie and the proliferation of fake news is inexcusable. To subscribe to it is to believe something that isn’t true, and to live in a willfully delusional manner. Although gullibility and willful ignorance are not new, I’m still aghast at how willingly people believed these stories, many of which were entirely unsourced. Because Facebook is effectively a media outlet like any other, I think it’s imperative that they do more to control the kinds of content that they curate and allow in sponsored advertisements. The fact that other people are writing programs and taking a stand for truth is definitely a ray of hope.


  10. Shane says:

    Hello Sandra,

    This is certainly a timely blog post. Just this past weekend, we wittnessed a fanatic of fake news walk into a D.C. Pizzeria and fire shots claiming he was there to self-investigate what are actually baseless and bogus claims.

    What I like most about your blog post is the technology that is being deployed to combat this problem. We all know that there is freedom of speech in this country, but if you post nonsense and hoaxes on the internet, the technology is now available to alert others that it is a fabricated story.

    Thank you for informing all of us about this!

    Cheers, Shane

  11. Lindsay King says:

    Hi Sandra,
    This is a great post. I can’t tell you how many people “quoted” a story this election year only for it to be fake news. I really like your tips you put out there. I can’t tell you how many times I would say, “where did you hear that”, and when I was told the website I would respond, “you know that’s not a credible source, right?”.

    What upset me about fake news was Facebook and their response. First, the company fired the people in their trending department and replaced them with a computer algorithm. Then, when fake stories started showing up on news feeds, Mark Zuckerberg stated Facebook was not a news source. But, millennials and others use it to get news. I felt it was their social responsibility to make sure they were doing everything in their power to monitor news posts. A human with a journalistic background would be able to monitor fake news and not a computer algorithm.

    But, in the end, people have to do their own research and not accept that everything they see and read is a fact.