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Trusted Times uses a browser extension to identify fake and unreliable news and presents additional analysis through machine learning of any news article to show a reporter’s and news source’s bias, if any. Trusted Times screens thousands of news websites in the United States.

What distinguishes Trusted Times from other news filtering resources is its ability to treat each journalist and news article independently – as opposed to classifying an entire newspaper’s political bias as “left, center or right”. Trusted Times recognizes any news organization such as New York Times or Politico consists of hundreds of reporters each with a unique perspective, built-in schema/bias, ideas or writing style.

Trusted Times leverages advanced machine learning algorithms to analyze each article’s language reflecting an author’s opinion or attitude towards any given subject. This way a journalist with a unique persuasion or possible agenda for whatever reason is exposed as biased towards a subject or a person even if they work at a news organization consistently known for its own political slant, i.e., left, right or neutral.

Some of the unique features provided by Trusted Times are:

  • Identifies if the article is fake, unreliable, verified or mainstream media news
  • Provides a Summary of verified and mainstream media news articles
  • Scans the article to identify important and relevant subjects and topics discussed in the news article
  • Presents an analysis of an article’s bias or sentiment towards the mentioned subject
  • Gives an historical analysis of the reporter’s bias towards the mentioned subject
  • Gives an historical analysis of the news website’s bias towards the mentioned subject

In addition to being valuable to anyone whose job is to be abreast of the news, Trusted Times is perfect for everyone seeking a reliable resource to gauge credible news sources, i.e., teachers seeking an educational tool distinguishing the verifiable and reliable source of news based on fact.

Panel 1

How to Use Trusted Times

Trusted Times uses an extensive list of more than 7,500 (and growing) news sources to help users identify fake or unreliable news websites. Depending on the “Trust Factors”, the Trusted Times icon changes dynamically (from black to green or blue or orange or X) to notify you whether a news website can be trusted or not. When the user browses to one of the selected mainstream media websites, Trusted Times uses advanced machine learning algorithms to provide rich analysis about the article and the author’s and the new source’s historical patterns.

For any given news article, Trusted Times answers the following questions:

  • Can this news source be trusted?
  • What is the author’s attitude towards the different subjects discussed in the article?
  • Does the author exhibit a pattern of bias towards any subject?
  • Does the news source exhibit a pattern of bias towards any subject?
  • What’s the overall message (summary) of this article?

The Icons

A Trusted Times icon will appear on the URL bar of your browser.

Icons  Explanation
icon4 This is the default icon of the extension as the website is loading.
na-help This icon indicates this website is most likely not a news website. Trusted Times will not do any further analysis of any article on this website.
tmlis-help This icon indicates this is a reliable mainstream news website. Trusted Times will provide additional analysis for any article included on this website.
verified-help This icon indicates this is a reliable website. Information mentioned here will be usually verifiable. Trusted Times will provide the user an option to show additional analysis.
unreliable-help This icon indicates this is an unreliable website. This site has a history of publishing heavily biased and misleading information.
fake-help This icon indicates this is a fake news website. Information mentioned here will be typically fabricated and not based on fact or real news.

The Summary

summary

The summary shows an overview of the article.

The Article Analysis

articleanalysis

From the article, all the relevant subjects such as people, organizations, titles and offices, etc., are extracted. Then for each subject, the technology determines whether the article’s language or sentiment is positive, negative or neutral. In some cases, you may see duplicate subjects, e.g. Obama – where one may refer to Obama Foundation, whereas the other may refer to Barack Obama.

The Author Analysis

8

From the selected mainstream news websites, Trusted Times provides a pattern analysis of every author’s attitude, opinion or sentiment towards the subject based on previous articles written by the same author. At this moment, the technology provides a detailed pattern analysis for each author contributing to a news website.

The Source Analysis

5

From selected mainstream news websites, Trusted Times provides a pattern of this news source’s attitude, opinion or language towards a subject based on previous articles published by this source. At this moment, the technology provides a detailed pattern analysis for the selected mainstream news website.

Reviews of Statements from PolitiFact

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 6.23.11 PM

In addition to providing detailed analysis, for some articles (& some publications), we analyze some of the discussed people and organizations discussed, and for each of them, we provide three recent reviews of their statements by PolitiFact.com. In the screenshot above, you can see that this article provides recent (at most three) reviews of statements by PolitiFact. To read more details about each of the statements, please click on “More on PolitiFact.com”. To read all other statements regarding the person or individual, please click on “Statements from [person/organization] reviewed by PolitiFact.com” title.

To clarify, reviews of statements are provided by PolitiFact and the copyright of those reviews belong to PolitiFact. Trusted Times is neither affiliated, sponsored nor endorsed by PolitiFact or any of its affiliates.

Panel 2

Motivation

Growing up, I read a lot of news. As a kid, I read at least two newspapers in two different languages every day, pouring over politics and sports sections, mostly. I expected news to be informational, but in some cases, news articles could also be biased. So, a best practice is reading from multiple sources to give different perspectives

During our past presidential election when I read about Macedonian teenagers operating a “fake news factory” to affect the elections in United States, I was bothered. When I read about what it feels like to subscribe to fake news, I was very disturbed. I saw what happened when Facebook disastrously attempted to curate news. I have also seen what happens in Reddit’s news threads during the height of election season. I didn’t like what was happening in the news industry. I don’t want a future where news is dictated by agenda, rather than facts.

Real and factual news matter because they inform people about current events. Factual news helps us make informed decisions that affect us — our families, our future, the economy, our culture — and the kind of world we live in. If a guy like me, with a degree in Computer Science is struggling to find factual and unbiased news of current events, it must be especially hard for someone who trusts the news, i.e., my friend’s 75-year-old grandma in Ohio interested in keeping up with immigration policies or my neighbor’s nephew in Michigan actively trying to learn about our political parties and their principles as a high school student. Good information should be easy to find. Bad information should be flagged. Journalists or news sources intent on practicing either should be distinguished. That determination of “good” and “bad” information should be done impartially based on facts, patterns and not political bias or personal agendas. Since developing technologies to help people has always been my mission, it seemed this was a timely problem I wanted to solve.

While on my Christmas holiday, I started experimenting with a few news articles that seemed at first blush to be biased to me. I wasn’t positive of their bias – it was just a hunch. As I did more tests – words, phrasing, set up, tone, etc., – I realized I was on to something. If a source is indeed biased, then a pattern appears. I wanted to expose that pattern. As a computer scientist, I knew I could do this through machine learning — a type of artificial intelligence providing computers with the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed to do so. The more I refined this new resource, I felt it critical to implement it and make it available for general use. A little over a month later, I released Trusted Times.

Trusted Times is free for use. There are expenses involved with website/domain and app server hosting, but I consider that just part of my contribution to society. Trusted Times is an informational accessory for adults and an excellent education tool for young kids who want to learn how to read news effectively and analytically.

I made Trusted Times for that 75-year-old grandma from Ohio who can now get a more transparent analysis of any news article she reads. I made Trusted Times for the teachers like the ones in Seattle who are teaching their students how to read news and process information accurately. If Trusted Times can help anyone, then all my hard work will be worth it.

Disclaimer – this is my personal project and my employer isn’t involved in any shape or form. Nor do I have backing from any third party or group.

Panel 3

Mission

Trusted Times is a tool to help users identify fake and unreliable news and detect any bias in mainstream media. Trusted Times is guided by core principles to remain objective, non-partisan and analytical.

In a time of uncertainty and change, news and information can become targets for misuse with a lasting impact on our Nation’s founding principles and core values as human beings. Trusted Times leverages state-of-the-art machine learning technology to parse information from disinformation and objective journalism from biased agenda.

 

Panel 4

Support & Feedback

If you are experiencing any problems or have any feedback, please fill & submit this form below:

 

Panel 5

Privacy Policy

Your privacy is important to us. To better protect your privacy we provide this notice explaining our online information practices and the choices you can make about the way your information is collected and used. To make this notice easy to find, we make it available on our homepage and at every point where personally identifiable information may be requested.

The Information We Collect

This notice applies to all information collected or submitted on the Trusted Times extension for Google Chrome, Safari & Firefox.

Google Analytics

Our extension uses Google Analytics, a web analytics service provided by Google, Inc. (“Google”). Google Analytics uses “cookies”, which are text files placed on your computer, to help the website analyze how users use our extension. The information generated by the cookie about your use of the website (including your IP address) will be transmitted to and stored by Google on servers in the United States . Google will use this information for the purpose of evaluating your use of the website, compiling reports on website activity for website operators and providing other services relating to website activity and internet usage. Google may also transfer this information to third parties where required to do so by law, or where such third parties process the information on Google’s behalf. You may refuse the use of cookies by selecting the appropriate settings on your browser. Also, please note that Trusted Times has no access or control over these cookies that may be used by third party advertisers. By using our Trusted Times extension, you consent to the processing of data about you by Google in the manner and for the purposes set out above.

Collection of Personal Information

The Trusted Times extension doesn’t collect or use personably identifiable inforrmation. That’s why we don’t require our users to create an account and login to use the extension. When using Trusted Times extension, the websites accessed will be logged along with the dates and times of access. Trusted Times extension doesn’t collect any cookies, URL query parameters or the fragments – only the hostname and the path to provide you the core functionality of Trusted Times – identifying fake, unreliables news and detecting bias on any article. Besides providing the core functionality, the information collected by Trusted Times extension is used to analyze trends, administer the site, identify any errors, track users movement and address capacity and scalability issues for internal use. Most importantly, any recorded IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information, and is not shared by Trusted Times with any third party vendors.

Changes to this Privacy Statement

The contents of this statement may be altered at any time, at our discretion.

How To Contact Us

Should you have other questions or concerns about these privacy policies, please visit our Contact Us page.