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Dispute Finder: Making the Call on Web 'Facts'


referee

Intel Labs researcher Rob Ennals has developed Dispute Finder, software that highlights inaccurate online information in pink with a link pointing toward a reliable body of evidence that disputes it. Dispute Finder, which currently only works with the Firefox Web browser, can be downloaded from disputefinder.cs.berkeley.edu. The program also has an ignore feature that, when activated, will prevent it from highlighting a certain factual error again. "I'm not trying to create a consensus or show the truth," Ennals says. "Something can be true and be disputed." He also wants to avoid opinions or biases, and thus relies on neutral source material that is not partisan.

Dispute Finder relies on its 10,000 users to keep it abreast of new information. Ennals says that registered users can highlight disproven statements and label them as disputed. Conversely, they can mark a reliable source of information as evidence. Although he considers the program experimental, Ennals has already improved upon the software. Earlier this year, Dispute Finder could only monitor Web sites that its users had labeled themselves, but now it can highlight specific allegations wherever they appear on the Web.

Ennals hopes that Dispute Finder will be expanded to social Web sites and Internet TV in the future. "So, if you're watching one of the more crazy cable news shows, a little box might appear that lets you know that The New York Times or Christian Science Monitor has disproved this," he says.

From The Christian Science Monitor
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Abstracts Copyright © 2009 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


 

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