As pundits, researchers, and Democratic Party leaders desperately try to figure out what went wrong this election, some media outlets have already identified a major factor. British newspaper The Guardian first floated the theory that "fake news" on Facebook may have influenced the election, which prompted Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg to dismiss that line of reasoning as a "crazy idea." Zuckerberg said anyone who thought fake news stories swayed the election suffered from a "profound lack of empathy." And then he went on to say that it was simply too difficult Facebook to filter out fake news sources, or verify that stories circulating on the social networking site are actually based in fact. But according to app designer Daniel Sieradski, that's a load of B.S.
That is why Sieradski designed an extension for Google Chrome that identifies fake news when it appears anywhere on your browser. Appropriately, the plugin is called B.S. Detector. It's easy to install, works on any computer using Chrome, and provides a small pop-up notification whenever you come across a story from a "questionable" source.
The New York-based developer tells Bustle that while he identifies as a straight, white man, he's also a "super-jewy ... libertarian socialist (anarcho-communist)." Regardless, B.S. Detector's list of "questionable sources" spans the ideological spectrum. "I've done my absolute best to be impartial throughout the process," he added. The list of suspect sources is publicly available, and users can request additional outlets be added on the plugin's host page at GitHub. (Click on "Issues" to suggest a site for flagging.)
Sieradski designed the app on Monday, as "a direct response to Zuckerberg's BS statement that they couldn't effectively deal with fake news without a massive effort," he tells Bustle. He added that it took him less than an hour to build the plugin.
The response to his B.S. Detector has been "incredibly positive," he says. "It's gotten some nice pickup in the tech press and on social media and the majority of feedback has been positive. Only libertarians seem to take significant issue with it."
Sieradski also suggests that B.S. Detector is much more popular than the last plugin he designed, "Nazi Detector," which tracked the social media accounts of white supremacists and slapped a swastika on their profiles.
So while this news verification plugin sure would have been helpful during the endless lead-up to the election, at least it's available in time to stealthily apply the plugin on all your racist relatives' computers during holiday gatherings. Onward to 2018, friends!