An Indian start-up called Metafact is drawing on artificial intelligence to try and combat the fake news crisis. The Dehli-based company founded in 2017 hopes to use AI to empower journalists to identify fake news stories.
Metafact plans on using a network of volunteers to submit suspicious content. If the same story is submitted by multiple people it will be fact-checked using the company’s AI system. The company’s major project is a tool that flags misinformation and bias in news stories and social media posts. While the tool is currently being trained in written English, Metafact plans to also train it to detect manipulation in images and video.
While the technology will not be able to prove definitively whether a story is true or false, it will be able to provide a list of probable fake claims which journalists can then review. Should the team regard the news as false, they will construct a post countering the fake claim and push it back into the system.
The rapid expansion of mobile technology has brought millions of people online for the first-time, creating conditions that allow for fake-news stories to spread like wildfire and even leading to mob killings. Moreover, the issue of fake-news has gained prominence globally with allegations of misinformation being prominent during the 2016 American election.
Given Metafact relies on “correcting” fake news by pushing yet more content back into the system, is there a danger that corrected versions of events will not spread as fast as sensationalist fake-news? What is the responsibility of network providers in preventing the spread of misinformation at the source and can they draw upon this technology to tackle the problem?