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Facebook Discourse

Hardware-Software Integrated Poltiical Debate Digitizer and Organizer

This project was created at Facebook Global Hackathon on November 17th, 2017. We won the Grand Prize out of 14 finalist teams from 11 different participating countries.

The project was born out of the desire to "clean up" the flame wars and nonsensical comments in the comments section of any and all politically inclined content on Facebook (and many other social medias). Coming out of the US 2016 presidential elections, we wanted a way to streamline the participation in the political space for all social media users. In order to scope out the project to a proper scale, we focused specifically on live debates.

First we start with the audio input from two opposing microphones of the debaters. That audio is digitized and parsed for content, facts, and intent (intent meaning whether or not the debater is starting a new topic, reinforcing a previous topic, or rebutting against an opposing topic). From this information, we are able to create topic threads as the debate goes on. For rebuttals we are able to draw lines of rebuttals, so a viewer can very quickly scroll down the topic page and see what has been brought up and where rebuttals have taken place. Each topic is also fact checked against a list of "valid" sources. Viewers are also able to upvote or downvote topics and a physical LED bar between the debaters shows which way the debate is currently swinging.

A picture of our complete stack can be found here, and the natural language processing stack can be found here.

We had the honor of presenting to the VPs of Technology of the Facebook subsidiaries: Messenger, WhatsApp, Oculus, and Instagram. Our presentation was also livestreamed and over 500 people tuned in to watch. A lot of Red Bull was also consumed during the 24 hour hacking process.