Engineering students from AMU win Facebook hackathon to curb extremist content on social media

Dubbed the 'Digital Masala Challenge', the hackathon was organized to find ideas to combat violent extremism and polarisation in the social media.

Final year engineering students from Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) were declared winners of the two day 'Digital Masala Challenge' held on 17 and 18 November, in Mumbai.

Winners of the Digital Masala Challenge.

Winners of the Digital Masala Challenge.

Dubbed the 'Digital Masala Challenge', the hackathon was organized by an online news portal, Youth Ki Awaaz and social networking giant Facebook. In a bid to combat violent extremism and polarisation in the social media, the hackathon has previously taken place in Guwahati and Jammu as well.

This time, it was conducted in Mumbai, where the participating teams had ten minutes to pitch their ideas to an expert panel.

The panel comprised of Shivnath Thukral, Public Policy Director, Facebook India and South Asia, Ruhee Neog, Director, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, and Ms. Sushobha Barve, Ashoka Fellow and Program Director of Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation.

Depending on the sustainability, uniqueness and possible impact of their ideas in real times situations, the teams were judged.

“We are delighted to be a part of such a big challenge that as a practical project to curb extremism on social media. We are happy that our hard work from the past 24 to 30 hours was commended by all and it can be scaled up,” said Hamza Khan, winning team member from AMU.

The winning team received Rs 3.25 lakh to materialize their idea.

The event was attended by tech enthusiasts, techies, social media campaigners, and filmmakers as well.

Recent reports suggest that social media giants like Google, Facebook and Twitter have joined forces to combat fake news and extremist content. Social media in the recent times has become the fertile ground to spread fake news as well as to spread violent content. Websites like YouTube are redirecting users searching for extremist content to videos which would tell them to debunk extremist ideology.

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