US How two university students are battling fake news

03:06  13 january  2018
03:06  13 january  2018 Source:   cbsnews.com

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Ash Bhat and Rohan Phadte found many partisan tweets don’t come from real people, but instead from automated Twitter accounts — and they decided to do something about it. CBS NEWS © Image credit, author, and full story are published on 2018-01-12 19:11:06 and available here.

CBS Evening News Students target fake news bots on Twitter Saturday How will Trump-Kim summit play in N. Korea? University of California, Berkeley, two juniors studying computer science are battling fake

BERKELEY, C.A. - At the University of California, Berkeley, two juniors studying computer science are battling fake news. "One of the things we wanted to see was where did this fake news originate from," said Rohan Phadte. "How did it become so popular?"

Digging deep into Twitter, Ash Bhat and Rohan Phadte found many of the most angry and partisan tweets, on both sides, come not from real people but from automated Twitter accounts known as bots. 

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Two Seattle academics were fed up with their students reading fake news online. Fake news runs rampant in our Facebook feeds. At least, that is the claim of Carl T Bergstrom and Jevin West of the University of Washington, Seattle. How can students join this battle ?

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Using artificial intelligence they created a bot buster -- "Botcheck.me" -- that anyone can use to check a Twitter account.

"You can just go in and click that and in a few seconds, we get a classification," said Bhat, as he demonstrated how the process works.

Then, "Botcheck.me" shows whether a tweet comes from a machine designed to spread fake news.

a man wearing glasses: Ash Baht, left, and Rohan Phadte © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. Ash Baht, left, and Rohan Phadte

"These bots are like retweeting and amplifying voices in the Twitter community that otherwise would not be as amplified," said Bhat.  

One person can put a tweet out and then put together their army of bots that throw it out across Twitter.

"It seems like all Twitter is saying it right," said Bhat. "It starts trending, you see hashtags like come up and it's a few individuals that are able to really push this trend."

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BERKELEY, C.A. - At the University of California, Berkeley, two juniors studying computer science are battling fake news . A pair of college students might not win the war against fake news , but they have given those battling to defend the truth a new weapon.

In this post-election period, there has been a lot of discussion about fake news , particularly about how it is spread and shared online, and whether it On November 22, Stanford University released an influential study showing that middle and high school students —and even some in college—have

a close up of a logo: Botcheck.me in action on Twitter © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. Botcheck.me in action on Twitter How to keep your Twitter account authenticHow fake news becomes a popular, trending topic

Fake news stories about the 2016 election went viral, gaining readers and credibility -- calling into question Twitter's ability to monitor its platform. In a blog post, Twitter said it is battling the bots, catching "about 450,000 suspicious logins per day." 

But the students said their bot buster is still helping users discover thousands of bots on Twitter.

"Initially, this was just a project that we were like, 'hey, this really annoys us,'" said Bhat. "Then all of a sudden we have thousands of daily active users that are using it every single day."

A pair of college students might not win the war against fake news, but they have given those battling to defend the truth a new weapon.


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