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Posted on: 24 Oct 2020

4 innovative ideas against Fake News - Meet the winning teams of Hacking the Fake News

Media Development Foundation’s (MDF) first global hackathon Hacking the Fake News announced 4 winning innovative technological ideas generated during the 2-day mentoring sessions, aiming to identify, expose and analyze misinformation and disinformation.

An innovative search engine for journalists and fact-checkers, a browser extension that analyzes text in Georgian language and identifies fake content, a website that ensures that fact-checking is carried out quickly, reliably, and worldwide, and an action-adventure game to fight Dr.Fake – these tech solutions have been selected by the international jury among 10 finalist teams. Each winning team will get $3000 as a prize for production.

Or and Adi Levis - a Data Scientist and a Software Developer from Israel - are one of the winning teams of the hackathon. They developed an innovative search engine for fact-checks, aiming to make fact-checks more accessible.

"Search the Facts is a search engine to help researchers, journalists, and the general public find relevant fact-checks quickly and easily. The index of fact-checks is collected using the ClaimReview schema in multiple languages. We developed an engine that receives keywords from a user, calculates the keyword-similarity to each fact-check in the index, and returns the most relevant results. We hope that making fact-checks more accessible will help to reduce the spread of misinformation and promote trustworthy content.” - said Or and Adi Levis.

Consisting of international members, another winning team dubio developed a community-driven platform to debunk false claims to ensure that fact-checking is carried out quickly, reliably, and worldwide.

"On the dubio platform, citizen fact-checkers can contribute to fact-checking claims in a fun and collaborative way. This crowd-sourced fact-checking data (claim summary / who made the claim? when? where? / relevant sources which either prove or disprove the claim) is then bundled and sent to professional fact-checking organisations, so that these professional teams have all the relevant information they need to assess the "truthfulness" of a claim, and to write a ClaimReview article. By submitting their conclusions to ClaimReview, the team's fact-check will be signaled to the Internet, thereby allowing companies such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter to limit the spread of false claims.” said Thomas Van Damme (Belgium), Artem Zhykharev (Ukraine), Assaf Kazakov (Israel), Gustavo Hinestrosa (Venezuela), Kamil Piekara (Poland) and Zafrir Dotan (Israel) of the team dubio.

3rd winners of the hack the fake news challenge are Georgian Developers - Davit Janezashvili and Giorgi Baidauri of a team Purify. As the most common strategy for spreading disinformation is the usage of social media networks, they have chosen to focus on this direction, developing a browser extension that uses language modeling to mark suspicious posts in social media with relative tags.

"Collaboration with fact-checking organizations makes it possible to fully automate data collection and model training efforts and keep the system steadily up to date. As the byproduct of our effort, we are planning to open-source the pre-trained language model, that by itself would empower the local data science community to implement similar techniques and further support exposing fake news campings.” - said Davit Janezashvili and Giorgi Baidauri.

Doctor Fake, an action-adventure game, is a joint initiative of Myth Detector Laboratory alumni and ForSet. This Georgian team includes - Mariam Dangadze, Mariam Topchishvili, Ani Kistauri, and Zizi Nishnianidze.

"The game incorporates information and tools about fake news, cybersecurity, Deep Fakes, and fake accounts. The player must fight the Doctor Fake, who is trying to scare them with special questions. To track the threat, the user needs to answer relevant questions about cybersecurity, Deep Fakes, and trolls. The game promotes awareness on media and information literacy and cybersecurity and helps improve relevant skills.” - said the team

On October 22-23 2020 MDF, together with ForSet, hosted developers, graphic designers, media literacy specialists, and others passionate about digital technologies from 16 countries to hack the fake news challenge at MDF’s global hackathon. The event was organized in partnership with Bellingcat and Facebook with the financial contribution of Zinc Network. The community partner of the hackathon was Digital Communication Network. Media partners - and