How Can Artificial Intelligence Combat Fake News?

AI, Big Data, and Machine Learning can work together to help combat fake news (or alternative facts, depending on how you look at it).


Fake news is rearing its ugly head time and time again. Be it the fake news about Ebola or about the U.S. presidential election, fake news has become a part of the world, and it has become necessary to label every story either fake or legitimate. It is essential that we dig into fake news to prevent people from believing false things.

It is very difficult to authenticate the source of content. This problem is exacerbated for journalists scouting for the latest sensational news. Artificial Intelligence provides certain features which help us rate the news for authenticity and define it as fake. The best way to combat fake news is using an automated tool. 

Once big data came into the picture, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning tools became more sophisticated and reliable. Now, we need to focus on educating people (starting as early as primary school) to be critical thinkers and to not take every story at face value.

In the future, Artificial Intelligence will be used to scan through each and every news source. Some of the ways AI will be used to scout through them are summarized in the infographic below:

How to Identify Fake News

Below are four techniques used to identify fake news.

1. Score Web Pages

Scoring web pages is a method pioneered by the tech giant Google. Google takes the accuracy of facts presented to score web pages. The technology has grown in significance as it makes an attempt to understand pages’ context without relying on third-party signals.

2. Weigh Facts

Natural Language Processing engine can go through the subject of a story along with the headline, main body text, and the geo-location. Further, artificial intelligence will find out if other sites are reporting the same facts. In this way, facts are weighed against reputed media sources.

3. Predict Reputation

Using predictive analytics backed by Machine Learning, a website’s reputation can be predicted through considering multiple features like domain name and Alexa web rank.

4. Discover Sensational Words

When it comes to news items, the headline is the key to capturing the attention of the audience. Artificial Intelligence has been instrumental in discovering and flagging fake news headlines by using keyword analytics.

Are There Tools to Combat Fake News?

The French news media announced that they have opened a new fact-checking service this month (in the wake of French elections) called CrossCheck to identify and debunk fake news items.

Until we universally start using AI to spot fake news, we will have to rely on robust tools that have proved useful in debunking false news items. Forbes gave a summary of some tools used to fight fake news:

  1. Spike is a tool leveraged to identify and predict breakout stories as well as viral stories. The tool analyzes mountains of data from the world of news and predicts what’s going to drive engagement.
  2. Hoaxy is a tool that helps users to identify fake news sites.
  3. Snopes is a website that helps spot fake stories.
  4. CrowdTangle is a tool that helps discover social content early and monitor content.
  5. Check is a tool from Meedan that helps verify news breaking online.
  6. Google Trends proves its worth by watching searches.
  7. Le Decodex from Le Monde is a database that houses websites that are tagged as fake, real, etc.
  8. Pheme has made a technology leap to read the veracity of user-generated and online content.

We have not yet realized the true potential of artificial intelligence in combating fake news. The future looks good for more sophisticated tools that harness the power of Artificial Intelligence, big data, and machine learning to stop fake news making ripples in the user world.


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