Skip to comments.New browser red-flags disputed facts on the web
Posted on 08/31/2009 3:34:53 PM PDT by BGHater
Developers of new web browsing software that flags questionable claims or outright lies on the web hope it will become a valuable tool to deal with the misinformation that litters the Internet.
But observers say Dispute Finder, an experimental browser extension developed by Intel, and the many websites that already aim to debunk online rumours and falsehoods face an enormous task. It isn't as easy as simply telling someone they're wrong.
Once installed, Dispute Finder highlights in red what it determines are disputed claims on websites, then offers users links to alternative points of view and evidence to back them up.
"It's important to be aware when something you're reading is not the only opinion, when there is another point of view worth paying attention to," says California-based Intel researcher Rob Ennals.
"The real problem is, when you don't realize something is disputed, you don't realize there are other points of view and you might not be aware you've wandered into a dispute."
The current version of the software relies entirely on users to identify disputed claims, provide evidence and point the software to other instances of that claim on the web, so right now there's still not much content being highlighted.
Eventually, Ennals says users who input claims will be able to train the software to seek out examples and continue to flag new content as it's posted. And, as the software becomes more popular, more claims will be catalogued.
He says real people are in a better position to determine whether a claim is in dispute than any computer and he brushes aside suggestions that doing so might just provide another forum for bogus assertions.
"The good thing is that if something is disputed enough that people will care, the chances are that someone is going to care enough to mark it as disputed," says Ennals.
"I don't think we can really be the arbiters of truth, we can't tell you automatically what is true and what is false. All we can really hope to do is, if there's a credible source that gives a credible point of view, let you know."
There already are a number of websites that attempt to poke holes in fiction masquerading as fact, such as Snopes.com and FactCheck.org. Media outlets have done so-called "reality-check" stories to assess claims in the news for years.
However, Jonathan Fugelsang, an expert in cognitive psychology at the University of Waterloo, says it's incredibly difficult to change people's minds once they've decided a certain claim is a fact.
"Once you actually believe something, it takes quite a lot of data or evidence to overcome that belief and it takes a lot of attention to do that," says Fugelsang.
"With a lot of repeat exposures, it does change."
Then the White Crib website will be all red? As if it isn’t already?
It will not work.. People and not software will ultimately have to decide based on the evidence, facts and logic.
It wil become a LEFTIST tool of POLITICAL CORRECTNESS!
LOL! On the comment of “The White Crib”.
Total idiocy. There won’t be a single site that has not been “flagged,” countless times. And when/if 1 flag goes away, another will take it’s place.
Even the url will get flagged.
You got it. It’s designed for uniformed people to be easily manipulated, indoctrinated, and ultimately sheeple.
I already own this utility.It’s called a brain
“There already are a number of websites that attempt to poke holes in fiction masquerading as fact, such as Snopes.com and FactCheck.org. Media outlets have done so-called “reality-check” stories to assess claims in the news for years.”
Oh, yes. They’re very reliable. As is Wikipedia.
For information like largest islands* and tallest peaks*. Provided you look at them at a slant.
* and even those factoids are not agreed upon.
Dispute Finder will be a tool according to the views of who operate it and will thus be disputed as well.
So when you say po-tay-to and I say po-tah-to...it will be in red letters? Oh, goody...I hope that’s a feature that will be installed everywhere and can’t (or cahn’t) be removed by anyone...finally, the primary use of the internet for mass debating will be official...
Free Republic is my current fav.
| An argument's not
simply denying something
Yes it is!
Besides, we lost control over content years ago with the first gopher utilities. Remember these?
or an earlier version:
TY for the link...I hadn’t see that post.
I’ve been reading early 20th poetry again & honestly believe we are living the final epic battle for Mankind’s soul.
I’m sensing some skepticism on your part regarding this.
Is there anything worth in this world that is not in dispute?
Good idea. Just have the browser check the factcheck.org website, snopes or maybe wikipedia.
There are already perfectly good urban-legend fact-check sites like Snopes.
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