Wed, Nov 20, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Student projects to stop fake news win awards

MORE TRANSPARENCY:‘HeyFans’ software uses big data to classify user accounts as “fans” or “haters,” making the decision to follow or block them easier

By Jake Chung  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Students from Chung Yuan Christian University’s Department of Information Management display their design that can distinguish genuine commentators from individuals engaging in information manipulation at the InnoServe Awards in Taipei yesterday.

Photo courtesy of Chung Yuan Christian University via CNA

Two software programs designed and written by Chung Yuan Christian University students to combat the spread of fake news have won InnoServe Awards.

Students in the department of information management developed the program as a senior project, professor Chin Chih-yu (金志聿) said.

One project titled “Keyboard Moderator” was a collaboration between students and renowned big data companies, and implemented on Professional Technology Temple (PTT), the largest electronic bulletin board system in Taiwan, Chin said.

The project designed a Web crawler to trawl through messages posted on PTT boards and compare them with a language and behavioral analyses database, Chin said.

The comparison results are uploaded to a “Moderating by the Masses” platform for PTT users to peruse and decide whether the information was sincere, an outright fabrication or intended to set a certain tone, Chin said.

Students who worked on Keyboard Moderator said they hoped that the program would help cut down on Internet information meant to manipulate readers.

Another project titled “HeyFans” uses big data to classify Internet user accounts as “fan” or “hater” accounts, which would permit people to understand any problematic account usage or posting, Chin said.

The classification would help average users in deciding whether to follow or block the accounts, Chin said.

HeyFans can not only be used to curb information manipulation, but also be adapted for commercial applications.

The two projects were designed to help forums and other Internet groups crack down on cybermanipulation, especially with the increasing amount of falsified information thought to be spread by Chinese as Taiwan approaches its Jan. 11 elections.

Through their projects, the students also said that they hope to make the Internet more transparent, and allow users to see and hear the actual voices of forum or group members.

The InnoServe Awards challenge participants to design prototypes of innovative information and communications technology applications. The final round of the competition was held at the National Taiwan University Sports Center in Taipei on Nov. 2.

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