Fake news is having a significant impact on the world we live in.
The rise of fake news has had a profound impact on our lives from elections through to public health. Fake news is a worldwide phenomenon spread through social media.
But is the tide starting to turn?
Have we discovered the weakness in fake news? An algorithm for fake news?
Is the unexpected weapon to fight against fake news, in fact, fake news itself?
Can artificial intelligence help us use news article content to tackle fake news once and for all?
Let’s find out.
What is fake news?
Wikipedia describes fake news as a type of yellow journalism or propaganda that consists of deliberate disinformation or hoaxes spread via traditional print and broadcast news media or online social media.
It has had a profound effect on people’s perception of journalists, news and the media. It has led to a lot of miss-trust.
Why is it so important we tackle fake news?
Fake news has a profound impact on our society and what the public believes to be true about the world we live in.
Therefore it is crucial we tackle fake news, so people are able to make informed decisions in their lives.
Being able to make a well-informed decision based on fact is essential for us all.
How are we able to tackle fake news?
Following several high profile scandals involving fake news and politics, companies and researchers have begun to focus on how they can tackle fake news.
In particular technology companies, with access to large datasets on fake news, have been developing systems to flag it. These systems use machine learning and artificial intelligence to tackle fake news.
The unexpected weapon to fight fake news.
In a paper recently published by two computer science students at the University of California, Riverside, they are using clustering algorithms to identify fake news based on the content.
The algorithm they have developed uses the content of fake news and powerful natural language processing and clustering algorithms to identify fake news.
The way that the algorithm works is by taking in the content of the fake news article, examining the words used and then clustering them. These clusters are what helps the algorithm determine which pieces are genuine and which are fake news.
It is the fake news itself, specifically the way the article is written, that allows the algorithm to detect that it is false.
How does the algorithm fight fake news?
Remember at the start of this article when we defined fake news? It was a type of yellow journalism or propaganda that consists of deliberate disinformation or hoaxes spread.
Well, the language used to increase the click-through rate on these articles, known as click bait, is grouped into different buckets depending on the type of fake news.
For example, individual articles are grouped into the propaganda or extreme bias bucket.
Articles in this bucket have a high concentration of homogeneous, or similar, words that are associated with propaganda.
Because of the language used, it is easy to identify an article as fake news. As fake news is identified, it is flagged or removed from the social media feed.
Will we win the war on fake news?
By educating people on things to look out for in fake news stories, and using artificial intelligence to identify and remove it, it is clear we have several weapons in our arsenal.
The fight against fake news is hotting up. Hopefully, we are on the winning side!