A team of researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay) has launched a platform to debunk fake news on COVID-19. The fact-checking platform is called ‘KauwaKaate’ and it can be accessed at http://kkfactcheck.in/. It can also be accessed via WhatsApp and mobile phones. It can verify news articles, text messages on social media, pictures as well as videos. Its website says, “The goals of the Kauwa Kate project are broadly to combat the fake news epidemic that has affected the world today.”
How does the KauwaKaate Fact Checker work?
Users can download the KauwaKaate Fact Checker application on the android phone. Or, send a query to 8369749660 on WhatsApp asking if a viral or forwarded message is true. Kameswari Chebrolu, a teacher at IIT Bombay and part of the team told the Hindustan Times that KauwaKaate uses the services of leading fact-checking websites to verify the queries. “First we see if the item has been fact-checked previously by checking them against a predefined set of India-focused fact-checking sites such as check4spam.com, boomlive.com, Alt News, and other leading news sites.
We crawl these sites regularly and perform a search on our server on the crawled data,” Chebrolu said. “If an article/image does not match either of the above cases, we have a few automated checks that we carry out,” she added. According to the website, for images, it looks for exact matches, and if that fails it does a partial image match. Besides Chebrolu, the team comprises Soumen Chakrabarti and S. Sudarshan who teach at IIT Bombay.
The student members are Megha Agarwal, Abhishek Bagade, Aman Jindal, Jagadeesha Kanihal, Shiva Kulshrestha, Ashwini Pale, Shreyans Sheth, and Sourab Jha. The platform is a part of a three-year project funded by the government of India and the team plans to build more on automated checking.
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