While most savvy internet users typically treat anything they read online with a healthy degree of skepticism, innumerable people are still fooled every day. This might be by something as dangerous but obvious as a Nigerian 419 scam, or something as innocuous as an email forward claiming that entering ATM pin code in reverse will summon the police. While there are phishing and fraud protection tools that strive to protect you from the first kind of disinformation, there isn’t really anything to help you out with the second kind. Now, a new app is trying to fight back against false information on the internet.
Rbutr is a browser extension that is trying to tackle the serious challenge of online disinformation. It hopes to employ crowd-sourcing to build up a knowledgebase of rebuttals to various pieces of content on the web. You will need to register to be able to use the service. This is a stumbling block, which might put off many users. However, once you get past this step, it’s pretty simple to use Rbutr. Install the Chrome extension and continue browsing as you normally would. If Rbutr finds any rebuttals for the content you are currently viewing, its icon will change to alert you. The drawback here is that the icon change isn’t really prominent enough to draw attention. Rbutr needs to figure out how to better draw the user’s attention without really annoying him. If you want to give back to the community, you can submit rebuttals directly through the extension in a couple of simple steps.
At the moment the utility of Rbutr is limited as its database is pretty small. However, this is something that definitely has a lot of promise. If it ever gains critical mass, it is something that everyone should go ahead and install. However, right now, I would only recommend it to early adopters and enthusiasts.
Rbutr is currently only available for Chrome, but support for others browsers is in the works.
[ Download Rbutr ]