Deep breath: a machine learning browser extension to tackle online misinformation

Marc Kydd, Lynsay A. Shepherd*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Working paper/PreprintPreprint


Over the past decade, the media landscape has seen a radical shift. As more of the public stay informed of current events via online sources, competition has grown as outlets vie for attention. This competition has prompted some online outlets to publish sensationalist and alarmist content to grab readers' attention. Such practices may threaten democracy by distorting the truth and misleading readers about the nature of events. This paper proposes a novel system for detecting, processing, and warning users about misleading content online to combat the threats posed by misinformation. By training a machine learning model on an existing dataset of 32,000 clickbait news article headlines, the model predicts how sensationalist a headline is and then interfaces with a web browser extension which constructs a unique content warning notification based on existing design principles and incorporates the models' prediction. This research makes a novel contribution to machine learning and human-centred security with promising findings for future research. By warning users when they may be viewing misinformation, it is possible to prevent spontaneous reactions, helping users to take a deep breath and approach online media with a clear mind.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jan 2023


  • Misinformation
  • Machine learning
  • Human-centred security
  • Web technologies
  • Cyber security


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