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Fake News Problem: Is AI the solution?

Manual factchecking can't keep up with the flood of fraudulent stories, images, and videos. Is AI the key to solve the fake news problem? Check this out.

Fake news has always been there, however, the advancement in technology has boomed its impact to a severe extent. Nowadays, there are machines that automatically take news headlines and edit stories with the help of computer software. There are also video editing apps which can change the face of one person with another and make the video look authentic.

But artificial intelligence (AI) can go a long way to help solve the fake news problem. AI experts say that the gaps left by the fact-checking tools such as Truth or Fiction, Snopes among others, which work under the command of human fact checkers are not able to check all the online news articles.

According to Delip Rao, the Founder of Joostware and organizer of the Fake News Challenge, “All of the current systems for tracking fake news are manual, and this is something we need to change as the earlier you can highlight that a story is fake, the easier it is to prevent it going viral,” An AI system can work with the various plugins for fake news that are already available on the Google web store e.g. This is Fake browser extension which uses red flags to indicate fake news on Facebook’s newsfeed.

According to Or Levi, the Founder of AdVerif.ai, “There are reports which are predicting that within three to four years, people in advanced economies will consume more false content than true content, which is really mind-blowing, ... But because a lot of this content is recycled and repeated in different ways, we believe we can use AI to pinpoint trends which detect it as being fake.”

For instance, AI was used to flag the fake story on the American’s Supreme Court Justices opposed the Gorsuch nomination last year. This is how it worked, “The bot could parse the conclusion, or headline, of the article and compare it against known, published rules regarding the behaviour of Supreme Court justices. This would have quickly flagged the article as fake news and effectively block all similar, syndicated articles. This article was eventually manually flagged and tagged as fake news, but not quick enough to prevent the article from appearing up as a credible story on Google News,” said John Forrester.

The following are the various ways through which AI can help address the fake news problem:

Fact Checking

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The first step to solving the fake news problem is fact-checking. Of course, this is not an easy task, but it can be done. For every breaking news that is published, the algorithm to the source can be traced to check for its authenticity.

This is where AI comes in handy. AI has the ability for anomaly detection which is significant in fact-checking. If it is only one news site that has published the given breaking news, then there are high chances that the news is fake.

Similarly, in the process of fact-finding of a news source, AI natural language enabled software can be used to deconstruct the semantic components of the given news. Once the semantics have been deconstructed, they can be cross-checked for authenticity against reputable sources of news. Moreover, there are various AI models which can be used to predict and quarantine suspicious breaking news such that the news can be counter checked in real time by human fact checkers. Crowd-sourcing can also be used to give a center for on-demand fact-checking resources. This scalable center will provide a way of directing information to the AI algorithm for fake news detection.

Spam Checking

Another method of solving the fake news problem is through spam checking. AI can be trained to detect the regions and botnets where the fake news is liked, shared and propagated on the web. The AI can be used to detect in real time the path through which the news was shared. When the path of news sharing is detected, it will be easy to stop it before it goes viral.

People on the internet might be manipulated by hot breaking fake news and want to share. Therefore, trained AI detectors can be used to prevent the spread of fake news. According to James Kobielus, writing for InfoWorld, “Already, the anti-fake-news community uses some defenses such as bogus-site blacklists and junk-content flagging add-ins that got their start in the anti-spam arena.”

Verification Bots

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Action and verification bots is another proactive solution to the fake news problem. This will help to immediately counter any fake news that is published as inaccurate and false.

The problem of fake news has created distrust in many media platforms. The most serious effect of fake stories is their impact on the democracy of a given state. For instance, during the last US election, a survey revealed that fake news was doing 20 times better than the real-time stories on Facebook.

The advancement in technology more specifically AI and bots can go a long way in bringing this to an end. AI can help remove unsubstantiated rumors that are spread on different social media platforms and the website. Media houses, businesses, and other publishers can use AI technology to verify any information shared to deal with the fake stories. With the help of the bot technology, it is possible to solve this problem.

According to John Forrester, CMO of Inbenta “Bots also have the ability to assimilate, decipher, and process historical news, predictable behaviors and events historical news much more effectively than human reasoning. Using technology like natural language processing and machine learning, these bots can work faster than humans to check news articles against certified facts from credible databases.”

Discrepancy Checking

Another faster, accurate and more scalable way of solving the fake news problem is through discrepancy checking. This method is more accurate than human fact checkers. The accuracy of this method has made numerous fake news generators to use other conventional means such as proofreading.

An AI algorithm discrepancy checker can cross-check for spelling, punctuation, grammar and other syntax errors that are common in fake news. Besides that, AI software algorithm for vision is capable of detecting photoshopping or fabrication and any other colored images that might be available in fake news. This way, the problem of fake news can be checked.

In conclusion, every individual has a responsibility of helping stop this fake news problem. “Democratic societies depend on citizens who are well-informed about public affairs. This, in turn, requires that each of us open our minds to many sources of news and that we think critically about them. Just relying on your Facebook feed to keep you plugged into the world at large is a surefire path to ignorance,” Said James Kobielus.

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