Move over Snopes, Politifact: MIT develops machine that can spot fake news

Move over Snopes, Politifact: MIT develops machine that can spot fake news

[Ed. – Do they dare test it on the New York Times or Washington Post?]

Lately the fact-checking world has been in a bit of a crisis. Sites like Politifact and Snopes have traditionally focused on specific claims, which is admirable but tedious; by the time they’ve gotten through verifying or debunking a fact, there’s a good chance it’s already traveled across the globe and back again.

Social media companies have also had mixed results limiting the spread of propaganda and misinformation. Facebook plans to have 20,000 human moderators by the end of the year, and is putting significant resources into developing its own fake-news-detecting algorithms.

Researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) and the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) believe that the best approach is to focus not only on individual claims, but on the news sources themselves. Using this tack, they’ve demonstrated a new system that uses machine learning to determine if a source is accurate or politically biased.

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“If a website has published fake news before, there’s a good chance they’ll do it again,” says postdoc Ramy Baly, the lead author on a new paper about the system.

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