Hoaxy and Botometer are important tools used in fight against the spread of misinformation online. With the recent upgrades, these tools together enable users to observe whether information spread across Twitter is shared by real people or pushed by a computer program designed to sway public opinion.

Another tool, Fakey is introduced to educate people to recognize genuine news from credible source, hence save them from popularizing fake news from misleading sources.

What is Hoaxy?

Hoaxy is a search engine that depicts if the stories spread on twitter to the users are from low credibility sources.

Hoaxy’s new functions show users about the stories that are trending on Twitter, ranging from low to high credibility sources. It also indicates the proportion of the users likely to be “bots” (automated accounts) spreading the stories.

What is Botometer?

Botometer is a joint project of the Indiana University Network Science Institute (IUNI) and the Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research (CNetS).

Botometer formerly called BotOrNot is an app that checks the activity of a Twitter account and gives it a score based on how likely the account is to be a bot (an automated account). Higher scores are more bot-like.

Botometer often categorizes “organizational accounts”, like @BarackObama, as bot accounts.

The upgraded version of Botometer employs updated machine learning algorithms to identify “bots” with greater accuracy.

How does it work?

  1. Type the URL https://botometer.iuni.iu.edu/#!/ in the browser window and type the name of the suspicious source in the text box highlighted in the picture below. Click on Check user, Check Followers or check friends button to validate the authenticity of the entered Source
  2. The ‘Authorize Bot-o-Meter to use your account’ window shows up where you are entitled to enter your credentials for twitter account. Then click on ‘Authorize app’ button.
  3. Once you are logged in the twitter account, the app Botometer will read tweets, and see whom you follow to analyze whether the user name you entered in the first step is genuine or not.

What is Fakey?

Fakey is a tool in form of an educational game which is designed to help teach people how to distinguish between false or misleading reports and genuine news.

In this web and mobile news literacy game, players earn points by fact-checking false information and hitting like or sharing accurate stories.

The tool helps people develop responsible social media. An Android app is available, and an iOS versions will be launched shortly.

How to play?

  1. Type the url https://fakey.iuni.iu.edu/ in any browser. Skip the tutorial by clicking on Skip Tutorial Button. Sign in using your Facebook or Twitter account. If also have an option to play anonymously.
  2. The player is simulated news feeds with articles. Some of which are from legitimate sources, others are misleading reports. The goal is to promote the genuine information from reliable sources.
  3. Inspect each article in the feed and decide whether it’s credible. In this case, you may share or like it. It you find the article fake, select fact-check to indicate that you don’t trust the article. You can otherwise select ‘Hint’ or ‘Skip’ if you are not sure.
  4. You will get top points if the article you shared were from sources and the fact-checked articles were from suspicious sources.
  5. However, sharing an article from an untrusted source or fact- checking the information from a legitimate source will cause your skill to decrease.

Why are these tools necessary?

The bots give a false impression about a product or a specific topic onlineby creating hype with the comments and likes of the people who are unaware of the information authenticity.These automated accounts are commonly used by political campaigns, celebrities, and advertisers to popularize their products or push their agendas.

Earlier, to recognize the authenticity of any information users had to analyze the headlines and use their intelligence. But the 3 tools have made it easier to trace the spread of any online news or hashtag across twitter.

All three tools combined help individuals understand the role of misinformation online. It also helps to detect the authenticity of the virally spread formation and revealing people or groups behind illegitimate sources.

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