Network graph Troglodyte tracks relationships among fake news websites

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Three teams will be representing the country against competition from Indonesia and Malaysia to determine the most inventive solution against fake news.

Team Troglodyte, composed of Carlos Nazareno, Dominic Ligot, and Nikko Torcita, won first place and took home P10,000 in cash during the first Break the Fake Hackathon held last August 17 at American Corner in De La Salle University.

Their program, which is also named after the race of reptilian humanoids from the tabletop role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons, is a network graph that can identify fake news websites by mapping out their relationships to other such sources.

Second placer Team Git Stash created a web browser extension that bridges the gap between users and fact-checking organizations, while third placer Team GigaMike created an app that gives bloggers a fake news detection badge. Both teams won P5,000 in cash each.

Aside from competing in the Grand Hackathon on September 14 to 16 at Solutions Space Makati, the three teams will get a chance to win P100,000 worth of prizes and receive mentoring and pitching opportunities.

“I’ll really be looking forward to how our ASEAN neighbors are doing because I think they’re also suffering from similar challenges that we are,” said Dominic Ligot of Team Troglodyte. “I’m really looking forward to putting up good competition and swapping notes with them, and just getting in an environment where you have to bring your A game.”

A threatening phenomenon

According to the United Nations, fake news is a threat to human life and security. This is especially troubling when big platforms such as Facebook are only limiting and not barring the publication of fake news.

“Fake news is one of the most pressing issues facing the world today,” said Gabriel Billones, Jr., the lead organizer of Break the Fake Movement. “It will take the ingenuity of our youth, combined with the power of technology, to put an end to this trend. We wanted to give them a forum to realize their solutions and mobilize them into action.”

Furthermore, the organizing partners also hope to reinforce how the gift of technology brings about a bigger responsibility.

“Many people associate innovation with just websites and apps. But technology is so much more than that,” said Winston Damarillo, Devcon founder. “Just as the previous generation of innovators has worked to keep our data, privacy, and identify safe from cyber criminals, the next will be tasked with ensuring the integrity of our news and information.”