Here’s a Chrome Extension That Will Flag Fake-News Sites for You

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SolarpunkFan
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Here’s a Chrome Extension That Will Flag Fake-News Sites for You

Postby SolarpunkFan » 2016-11-20 10:16am

Just a little something for those interested. :wink:

http://nymag.com/selectall/2016/11/here ... ml?mid=ozy

The fight against fake news is being fought on many fronts in homes and offices across America, but companies like Facebook and Google have been reluctant to issue any sort of explicit, top-down editorial enjoinments about what can and cannot be posted on their platforms. This is understandable — corporations are loath to enter the politically tricky territory of determining the legitimacy of a given news outlet.

But as we enter a fraught period of American life, it’s important to make sure you (and your friends and relatives) can at least avoid being snookered by hoax, satire, fake, and just plain incompetent news sites. For people who might not be the most media-literate, here’s a handy browser extension I put together this afternoon, based on media studies professor Melissa Zimdars’s list of unreliable or misleading websites. It works like this: If you visit a URL known for producing non-news in news-like packages, you get a pop-up alert warning you. That’s it!

(Note: Zimdar’s list is expansive, and includes everything from popular satire sites to strongly partisan blogs and aggregators to utterly false bottom-feeders. It’s already been edited to remove some sites that might have been unfairly brought up in the dragnet, and we’re trying to update the extension as the list itself is updated. Remember, the extension doesn’t block the sites themselves, just offers a small reminder and warning. Better safe than sorry!)

For now it’s only a Chrome browser extension and, well, I made this in about an hour or so, so it’s about the most barebones it could possibly be.

But that just means there’s room for improvement! The biggest issue is that this extension only works on the actual domains hosting fake news, which means you need to visit the pages to get a warning. A more sophisticated and useful version would flag (and maybe even block) the sites as they’re linked to in various social feeds, but that’s a much more cumbersome project requiring more time, and frankly, coding knowledge, than I have. That being said, if you’re technically minded, you can help out: The source code is freely available on Github, so you can add to it (or rewrite it completely after you see how bad I am at coding), or port it to other browsers like Safari and Firefox.

Still, this (barely) working proof-of-concept is mostly to show that readers don’t need to necessarily sit around and wait for Facebook, Google, Twitter and the other large platforms to fix things. Install it yourself today, and surreptitiously install it on your relatives’ computers next week at Thanksgiving!


Not quite there yet, but promising?
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Re: Here’s a Chrome Extension That Will Flag Fake-News Sites for You

Postby Tribble » 2016-11-20 10:28am

Does it include FOX "news"? :P
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Re: Here’s a Chrome Extension That Will Flag Fake-News Sites for You

Postby Arthur_Tuxedo » 2016-11-20 05:31pm

The problem is that the people who download this are the people who can already spot fake news sites using the lump of flesh between their ears.
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Re: Here’s a Chrome Extension That Will Flag Fake-News Sites for You

Postby Grumman » 2016-11-20 09:44pm

Does it flag everyone who parroted the idiotic Nazi Pepe story? Or is it just a partisan attempt to discredit anyone who went against the narrative?

Install it yourself today, and surreptitiously install it on your relatives’ computers next week at Thanksgiving!

Suggesting this, even in jest, is a fucking stupid thing to do. You do not install unverified crap on other people's computers.

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Re: Here’s a Chrome Extension That Will Flag Fake-News Sites for You

Postby Titan Uranus » 2016-11-21 08:00am

Yeah, the vast majority of "news" has been nonsense for decades at the least.
Even excluding any political biases, journalists are almost without exception incompetent to do their supposed job. To see this all you need do is read a news article on a topic that you know intimately, and almost invariably, it will be wrong, or focus on irrelevant side-issues. A particular favorite tool of journalists is to make up shit and call it speculation.

Really the only useful purpose of journalism in its modern form (in the anglosphere, as I don't rightly know about the rest of the world) is to generate idiotic babble that can then be commented upon by actually knowledgeable people on blogs and the like, thereby informing a small portion of the public.

The sooner everyone learns that the present mainstream outlets are worse than entertainment (because they pretend to be real), the sooner they can be replaced, maybe eventually with something worthwhile.

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Re: Here’s a Chrome Extension That Will Flag Fake-News Sites for You

Postby Tiriol » 2016-11-22 05:14am

Titan Uranus wrote:Yeah, the vast majority of "news" has been nonsense for decades at the least.
Even excluding any political biases, journalists are almost without exception incompetent to do their supposed job. To see this all you need do is read a news article on a topic that you know intimately, and almost invariably, it will be wrong, or focus on irrelevant side-issues. A particular favorite tool of journalists is to make up shit and call it speculation.

Really the only useful purpose of journalism in its modern form (in the anglosphere, as I don't rightly know about the rest of the world) is to generate idiotic babble that can then be commented upon by actually knowledgeable people on blogs and the like, thereby informing a small portion of the public.

The sooner everyone learns that the present mainstream outlets are worse than entertainment (because they pretend to be real), the sooner they can be replaced, maybe eventually with something worthwhile.


Replaced with what, exactly? And on what do you base your assertion that journalists are almost without exception incompetent?
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Re: Here’s a Chrome Extension That Will Flag Fake-News Sites for You

Postby Titan Uranus » 2016-11-22 12:46pm

Tiriol wrote:
Titan Uranus wrote:Yeah, the vast majority of "news" has been nonsense for decades at the least.
Even excluding any political biases, journalists are almost without exception incompetent to do their supposed job. To see this all you need do is read a news article on a topic that you know intimately, and almost invariably, it will be wrong, or focus on irrelevant side-issues. A particular favorite tool of journalists is to make up shit and call it speculation.

Really the only useful purpose of journalism in its modern form (in the anglosphere, as I don't rightly know about the rest of the world) is to generate idiotic babble that can then be commented upon by actually knowledgeable people on blogs and the like, thereby informing a small portion of the public.

The sooner everyone learns that the present mainstream outlets are worse than entertainment (because they pretend to be real), the sooner they can be replaced, maybe eventually with something worthwhile.


Replaced with what, exactly? And on what do you base your assertion that journalists are almost without exception incompetent?


Preferably factual journalism, but that is far too much to ask, there will be many cycles of natural selection before we get something acceptable.

That is not to say that there haven't been bright sparks, Wikileaks for instance. And local journalists are often a bit better. There have been competent journalists in the past, George Orwell and Christopher Hitchens are examples of just such a thing.

Truly, pick a topic that you are independently knowledgeable about and compare what you know with what the mainstream media says about that topic, now consider, they are that inept on every topic. You should verify this by comparing notes with friends of yours.

Evidence of the media's scientific illiteracy is common as dirt, if you wish for an obvious example. The mainstream anglosphere media also fails to understand foreign and domestic politics, whereas it is immediately apparent to any observer that money is the main driver of politics in America, the mainstream media simply ignores that fact.

Pick any topic and with a hour-worth of research you or I can prove that the MSM either missed the point of was completely wrong about the aforementioned topic, almost without exception.

Think about it, the mainstream media profits from views and clicks, the quality of the journalism is irrelevant unless the public gets fed up with the platform altogether. In point of fact, high-quality journalism quickly gets in the way of profitability in the current model because it takes longer to produce than gossip-level garbage. Luckily the race to the bottom model seems to be breaking down.


As for replacement, I do not know what will replace it, at best I expect repeated evolutionary cycles that ultimately lead to a better form of journalism. Personally, there are blogs by certain experts and competent laymen that I favor. I also take a liking to long-form interview shows like Dave Rubin's show.

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Re: Here’s a Chrome Extension That Will Flag Fake-News Sites for You

Postby Block » 2016-11-27 02:44am

I'd like you to prove your assertion that they're almost uniformly incompetent as opposed to being told how much detail they can go into, what they can cover, and what experts they're supposed to go to for additional information.

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Re: Here’s a Chrome Extension That Will Flag Fake-News Sites for You

Postby madd0ct0r » 2016-11-27 09:40am

Possibly taking inspiration from the OP post and others in the news, PropOrNot have released an extension that allegedly blocks 'Russian propoganda'.

https://theintercept.com/2016/11/26/was ... 1#comments

Some of the websites on PropOrNot’s blacklist do indeed publish Russian propaganda — namely Sputnik News and Russia Today, which are funded by the Russian government. But many of the aforementioned blacklisted sites are independent, completely legitimate news sources which often receive funding through donations or foundations and which have been reporting and analyzing news for many years.

The group commits outright defamation by slandering obviously legitimate news sites as propaganda tools of the Kremlin.
One of the most egregious examples is the group’s inclusion of Naked Capitalism, the widely respected left-wing site run by Wall Street critic Yves Smith. That site was named by Time Magazine as one of the best 25 Best Financial Blogs in 2011 and by Wired Magazine as a crucial site to follow for finance, and Smith has been featured as a guest on programs such as PBS’ Bill Moyers Show. Yet this cowardly group of anonymous smear artists, promoted by the Washington Post, has now placed them on a blacklist of Russian disinformation.

The group eschews alternative media outlets like these and instead recommends that readers rely solely on establishment-friendly publications like NPR, the BBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Buzzfeed and VICE. That is because a big part of the group’s definition for “Russian propaganda outlet” is criticizing U.S. foreign policy.

PropOrNot does not articulate its criteria in detail, merely describing its metrics as “behavioral” and “motivation-agnostic.” That is to say, even if a news source is not technically a Russian propaganda outlet and is not even trying to help the Kremlin, it is still guilty of being a “useful idiot” if it publishes material that might in some way be convenient or helpful for the Russian government. In other words, the website conflates criticism of Western governments and their actions and policies with Russian propaganda. News sites that do not uncritically echo a pro-NATO perspective are accused of being mouthpieces for the Kremlin, even if only unwitting ones.

While blacklisting left-wing and libertarian journalists, PropOrNot also denies being McCarthyite. Yet it simultaneously calls for the U.S. government to use the FBI and DOJ to carry out “formal investigations” of these accused websites, “because the kind of folks who make propaganda for brutal authoritarian oligarchies are often involved in a wide range of bad business.” The shadowy group even goes so far as to claim that people involved in the blacklisted websites may “have violated the Espionage Act, the Foreign Agent Registration Act, and other related laws.”

In sum: they’re not McCarthyite; perish the thought. They just want multiple U.S. media outlets investigated by the FBI for espionage on behalf of Russia.



Looks like efforts to burst the echo-bubbles online will be strongly opposed by those who prefer their keyboard warriors loyal and loud...
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Re: Here’s a Chrome Extension That Will Flag Fake-News Sites for You

Postby Titan Uranus » 2016-11-29 12:07pm

Block wrote:I'd like you to prove your assertion that they're almost uniformly incompetent as opposed to being told how much detail they can go into, what they can cover, and what experts they're supposed to go to for additional information.

I'm sorry, because you didn't directly quote me, I did not get a notification.
How many examples from how many media outlets would you require? Or do you need some kind of scientific meta-analysis?
I just want to establish where your goalposts are.

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Re: Here’s a Chrome Extension That Will Flag Fake-News Sites for You

Postby Soontir C'boath » 2016-11-29 12:31pm

Judging from the kind of titles from the NYT and what the Washington Times just did. I wonder if this extension will block them too...
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