Geek Stuff

Hunt down fake news with a chrome plug-in

July 2018

In the beginning it was a fabulous source of information. But in the past few years, the Internet has become a vast mix of real, satirical, biased, and just plain incorrect data, and it’s not always easy to tell the diff. Is it hard, even impossible, to know which way to turn? Back Market has discovered a plug-in that can help you sort it out.

What is it?

These days, fake news and erroneous info is popping up everywhere, and it’s getting harder and harder to identify. Western leaders consider the situation problematic enough to warrant government intervention. Even serious public figures are regularly taken in, inadvertently spreading these pipe dreams and misinformation.

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Remember the Algerian daily that in 2017 republished a satirical article from Le Gorafi about the construction of a wall around France, financed by Algeria? Or in 2009, when Le Parisien took seriously a documentary calling the 1969 moon landing into question? A documentary that was actually created to prove that you can make anyone believe anything?

The company Eyeo, publisher of the AdBlock extension that lets you block intrusive ads on web browsers, has recently come out with a new plug-in. It’s called TrustedNews, and its goal is to help us poor mortals tell the difference between real info and fake news. Hallelujah!

How does it work?

The extension uses several data sources from fact-checking groups like Snopes, PolitiFact, Melissa Zimdars, and the MetaCert protocol to measure the reliability of a news site’s content.

When you visit a news site, the plug-in’s icon in the upper right-hand corner of your browser indicates the trustworthiness rating:

  • Green with atrustworthy rating if the content is recognized as reliable.
    • Red with an untrustworthy rating if the content is judged unreliable.
    • Gray if the site isn’t one of the rated sites.

An important detail: only English-language sites are currently evaluated.

How do you install it?

For now, the plug-in is only available for Chrome, so you’ll just have to wait for it to be released for Safari, Firefox and friends. To install the whole shebang, open a new tab in Chrome and go to the Chrome Web Store URL ( Click on Add to Chrome to install the plug-in and turn it on, with no further steps required. Easy as pie, right?

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Can you trust it?

Of course there’s always the question of how accurate the results really are. It’s up to you to decide whether MetaCert and the rest can be trusted, and whether the ratings themselves could be biased or influenced by corporations or governments.
At any rate, soon every user will be able to give feedback on the ratings assigned by TrustedNews, and Eyeo guarantees that they will be taken into consideration. Great! (But how on earth will they judge the feedback?) The company will also be expanding the number of information sources to continue improving the accuracy of the ratings.

Interested? Head straight to your browser, and try out this Chrome plug-in on your computer. Back Market is counting on you to post comments and share your feedback as users of TrustedNews.


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