Spam Chat Application – Line is another chat app full of spam, scams and bad information. Cofacts, supported by volunteers, conducts public research
Users forward questionable messages to the chatbot; voluntary organizers check their credibility; The bot replies to the user (and anyone who asks in the future).
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Across Asia, there are already many fact-checking programs that incorporate headlines and social media, but texting presents its own challenge in combating misinformation. It’s hard to deal with the fake news being circulated in chat groups, where they do not understand and do not see the message.
This is a problem Taiwan is currently facing. Like WhatsApp’s over-the-top cover art, messages on Line, an app that first launched in Japan in 2011 and is popular in countries like Taiwan and Indonesia, are easy to forward but not easy to counter. This is especially the case in family chat groups where, for example, it can be difficult or difficult to deal with relatives who can easily send fake or misleading messages or spam and scams. (Approximately 17 million people use Line in Taiwan, with users evenly distributed across all age groups.)
That’s where Cofacts comes in (an open collaborative fact-checking platform developed by Taiwanese civil technology community g0v (pronounced “gov-zero”)). The basic system is simple. Users who find questionable messages online can forward them to Cofacts (or Cofacts真假的) chatbot. Messages are then added to a public database where they are reviewed by volunteer editors before the reply is sent back to the Line user. If these editors disagree with each other’s fact-checking procedures, they may send multiple messages to the user, who will then have the opportunity to independently verify the information provided. (Who are their volunteers? Cofacts made a little video.)
All interested volunteers can log into the database of posted messages and start checking the messages via the Cofacts form. Cofacts provides step-by-step instructions for those unable to use the platform, as well as a clear set of editing guidelines to help volunteers post uncensored or “personal opinion” messages and what types they are. reliable sources that they can use to support their fact-checking work.
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Based on the data the Cofacts team has gathered from the news received so far, the misinformation released on the ground can range from false advances and medical information to false claims about government policies.
Johnson Liang, the inventor of Cofact’s Line bot, said he was convinced the bot was the right choice after looking at the admin panel of MyGoPen, another fact-checking account on Line. MyGoPen was inundated with requests, but most of them were the same or very similar messages from different users. Managers get frustrated when they have to reply to senders one by one.
MyGoPen’s problems prompted Liang to develop a chatbot that feeds the things he collects into a shared database. When a message is sent to the Cofacts bot, it is stored in the database. The next time someone forwards the same message, the bot can compare it to queries already in the database, find existing fact checks, and send them back directly to the Line user.
In the past three months, Cofacts received more than 46,000 messages – the chatbot was able to answer 35,180 of them automatically.
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Openness and sharing is key to how Cofacts works and embodies the ethos of the Tech-G0V community. Their records, statistics, and AGM notes are all freely accessible, so anyone (you can access all of them here; the notes are in Traditional Chinese) can see their discussions and draft decisions. This practice even extends to the way they handle media inquiries: instead of one-on-one interviews or emails, the Cofacts team requested that these interviews be conducted using shared documents, available to the entire team, to help people with to give different roles and opinions the opportunity . contribute (or at least know what others said).
“Separating users or adding mechanisms like editor verification takes time,” Liang said. “It takes time to create background check rules. It also takes time to implement them in the system. It takes more time to justify (or change) filter rules when there are people challenging those rules. As we don’t want to waste time.” With these rules we are simply making them available to everyone – if anyone is dissatisfied with the feedback on the platform, please contribute directly.”
The Cofacts agree that this system is not foolproof: although it is based on openness and trust, there is always a chance that the platform could be hijacked by rogue programmers. Liang freely admits that the group may not find the best way forward until the group of Cofacts volunteers has reached a size where the likelihood of a hack or kidnapping is likely.
However, he remains open-minded and prefers to think about tools that communities can use rather than ways to eliminate and prevent threats that may not yet exist. He cites other platforms like Wikipedia and Quora as role models to learn from.
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“A more constructive way to look at the risk of corrupt editors flooding the forum is to rephrase it in terms of questions like, ‘How can we improve the quality of editors’ responses?'” he said. “That opens up a lot of room for discussion and possible solutions.”
Despite supporting its growing database, the fight against fraud and misinformation remains an uphill battle for Cofacts. The team gets about 250 new messages a week, but has fewer than 12 active editors discussing them, meaning users don’t always get quick replies to messages they want to acknowledge. And they have no way of finding out what and how rumors are being spread among the majority of Line users who don’t use Cofacts.
But Liang points out the “good side”: Every user who receives an answer to their question also has the potential to become a rumor themselves.
“Although rumors spread after we responded, at least we stopped that many users (or chats) from continuing to send messages like this every day,” he said. “It allows [those users] to be their own gatekeepers.”
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Free sticker scam in Line messaging app – from slide 10 of Johnson Liang’s Cofacts presentation at RightsCon 2018.
Hahn, Kirsten. “Line is another chat app full of spam, scams and bad information. Volunteer-supported Cofacts is testing it.”
Han, K. (2018, August 21). Line is another chat app full of spam, scams and bad information. Cofacts, supported by volunteers, conducts public research.
| subject = Line is another chat app full of spam, scams and bad information. Cofacts, supported by volunteers, conducts public research
D Render Notification Bells, Red Unread Message On Phone Or Computer Application. Alert Notice, Spam, Chat Box, Online Conversation Isolated Angle Icons, Vector Illustration In Cartoon Plastic Style Stock Vector Image & Art
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