A.I. Being Considered to Fix the Fake News Problem

We’ve been besieged by fake news as of late. It’s all around us. It’s causing problems, as it masks itself well as real news, and many times people end up believing it. It’s even known to have affected the U.S. presidential race.

But is there a way to fix it? Or now that its existence has become part of our lifestyle, are we just stuck with fake news, right alongside our real news? There are some out there who believe A.I. could fix that problem of identifying fake news as such.

First, let’s establish what fake news is, as clearly some are confused as to what it is. While certain politicians and broadcasters want fake news to be everything that is unfavorable to them, in reality that’s now a true picture of what it is.

Fake news is just what the name suggests: news that isn’t real. It’s news that has been manufactured, many times for the benefit of someone else.

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Major news organizations have gotten into trouble a few times by reporting news that wasn’t fully vetted out. This becomes fake news. Social media is a big proponent of fake news as well. It’s all too easy for a fake news story to go viral, and by that time, there are many people that are believing it.

There are current ways to check if a story is fake news, but these methods require humans to do the leg work and check to see if they’re real, and this requires time. Websites like Snopes have been around for years checking out fake news before it was even called fake news. But they can’t keep up with the demand to check out every single story that’s submitted.

And that’s why it’s being suggested that AI could help determine whether news is real or fake. It can be done much more quickly. However, it’s not as failproof as human work in this regard.

Google and Facebook announced last month at the World Economic Summit that they have plans to develop AI systems that would alert their users to questionable content. Google is suggesting a “misinformation detector” browser extension to let users know a link can’t be trusted.

While they work on that, AdVerif.ai, an Israeli startup, has already employed an AI system to take on fake news.

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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,” said Or Levi, ADVerif.ai founder.

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.

The company launched an AI-based algorithm last November that they say can pinpoint fake news stories nearly ninety percent of the time. Advertising companies such as Adidas and Nike are financing the development of this system. The intention is for a browser plug-in to be created that will display a pop-up when you land on a fraudulent story.

Knowing that fake news tends to be different as it uses more adverbs, adjectives, and slang, simple sentences, and not many commas and quotations, Adverif.ai fed both real and fake news stories into the algorithm, training it to identify those clues to determine whether a news story was fake or real.

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However, this method is somewhat faulty. “Right now a story could say that New York is the capital of Uganda and the algorithm may not flag it because it doesn’t have a database of common facts,” revealed Levi.

Current forms of AI can look at the style of the language and the topic that the text is discussing, but it can’t figure out the meaning behind statements.” AI also isn’t good with statements that it can’t “quantify” or “measure,” like stating something is the best.

The good news is that it will get better. The next version of AdVerif.ai is set to use natural language processing to help verify statements in articles against existing online content that is trusted, such as Wikipedia, even though Wikipedia isn’t 100 percent foolproof itself.

And because the same AI tools create the fake news and will help fight the fake news, Levi believes the online space will become a battleground of competing AI. Additionally, he feels “at the end of the day, the onus will probably always be on humans to use their own intuition to decide whether something is true or not.”

Would you trust AI to determine real from fake news? Jump into the comments section below and let us know!

5 comments

  1. “We’ve been besieged by fake news as of late.”
    “Fake news” has been around under one name or another since human learned to talk. Do terms like gossip, propaganda, disinformation, BS sound familiar? They are all the same as “fake news”.

    “Fake news” is a buzzword popularized by the Clinton and Trump camps during the last election cycle. The media, along with many undiscerning people, have fallen in love with the term, just like they fell in love with the suffix “gate” when referring to any and all scandals or shady activities.

    “Social media is a big proponent of fake news as well.”
    Did you perhaps mean to say “generator” instead of “proponent”? “Proponent” means an advocate, a person who puts forward a proposal, or an adherent. On second thought, you may be right. Without “fake news” or gossip, social media would not be as popular. Actually, social media is both a generator AND a proponent of “fake news”.

    “Would you trust AI to determine real from fake news?”
    Next joke!!! DEFINITELY NOT! Humans have not been able (or willing) to eliminate “fake news” in thousands of years and you expect AI to do it in a couple of years? IF AI was the one developing the algorithms used to distinguish “fake news” from real news, maybe there would be a slim chance. But since it is humans who are creating the algorithms, it is all too easy to build in biases. All that will be accomplished is censorship of undesirable news, no matter whether fake or real. We would be no better off than we are right. Common sense is the best BS detector. Unfortunately, common sense is not very common.

    • I was referring to the buzz word of “fake news,” not the fact that all news is not always real. And i know how politically charged the term is and from where it came. I was avoiding that in the article so as not to make this a politically charged piece.

      And yes, you were right about my intention with the word proponent. I meant social media has a lot to do with how fake news is spread around. Again, I don’t want to get into politics here, but fake news being spread has a lot to do with social media making certain stories viral, fake or not.

      • “I was avoiding that in the article so as not to make this a politically charged piece.”
        You cannot pick and choose which aspects you choose to discuss and which ones you choose to ignore. All the aspects are part of the same expression. Whether you avoid the fact or not, “fake news” was popularized during the campaign and will always be associated with politics, just as any “gate” will always be associated with Nixon and Watergate, or the word “propaganda” will always conjure up the type of news coming out communist countries.

        Fake news, under its many names, is a very old phenomenon. Sometimes it works for us and sometimes it works against us. If it wasn’t for “fake news” or as it was referred to at the time a “misinformation campaign”, D-Day would have been much more difficult to accomplish, if not impossible. WWII was started based on “fake news” that Germans living in Poland near the German border were attacked and killed by Polish rabble. The Sudetenland was occupied by the Reich based on the “fake news” that ethnic Germans were in danger from the Czechs and must be protected.

        • Yes, I can pick and choose what to discuss. I’m the writer. So that makes it between me and my editor. If you want to discuss it, be my guest. That I can’t stop, nor would I want to. I’ve always said I write to make people think, feel, and maybe even laugh. With all of your responses to my articles, it looks like I’m winning in that regard. I’d rather have you comment that you disagree than not comment at all.

  2. On another side of the topic:
    Fake news, propaganda, gossip, misinformation….regardless of what its called. It has evolved and become just a prop of social media, politics, and anything else that is two-sided and has negative and positive elements. The one phrase/term that pisses me off beyond belief is the once coined by politicians….”Alternative Facts”…….and why does it piss me off? Because its LITERALLY an oxymoron! (coined BY morons?…LOL!)
    Alternative = a secondary/tertiary option from an original thought / idea /selection
    Fact = An IRREFUTABLE piece of information supported by scientific / mathematical results.

    How the (BLEEPITY BLEEP BLEEP!) can something that is IRREFUTABLE….have an ALTERNATIVE ANSWER!?…..do you see how stupidity is running rampant in society today?…..being an English Major?…this irks me to NO CONCEIVABLE END that people walk around using this phrase to argue their point! I wish the creator of this term?…a lifetime of ridicule! I cannot fathom how anyone can say that term with a straight face, and feel they sound intelligent!……ok….I’m done….my “rant” is over! LoL!

    As for A.I.?…..until it gets to the point where it can think for itself?…its useless, and when it DOES get to that point…ten WE become useless, and thus expendable. So those chasing this fool’s gold?…good luck…you’re on the verg of making the Human race irrelevant. And while I’m not one for boogey-men and ghosts?…understand that two computers that were “talking” to each other..STARTED CREATING THEIR OWN LANGUAGE!. Not a good premise….no matter WHAT anyone thinks of AI and computing in general. (Or was that all all a hoax….or more correctly..”fake news”?…LOL!)

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