Basing its studies and statistics on more than 22,500 sources, Statista reported that 42% of the traffic for fake news in the US comes from social media, and 23% of the same from search. And as confirmed, fingers point to artificial intelligence as the major culprit, in creating and spreading fake news.
Nonetheless, it’s also been established that this same tech can be used to identify and stop the spread of fake news.
Initially, fake news was nothing to worry about, until reports came out that such information has been used to influence societies on serious matters like voting, through AI driven bots that could create human-like accounts on social media.
That’s why Facebook has been facing legal issues for allowing its platform to be used by fake-news propagators.
Artificial Intelligence in Journalism
Well, we cannot say that AI has gone deep in journalism in terms of what we read or hear. But, “there is no debate on how the tech has impacted today’s world of reporting,” explained Lisa Gibbs, the Associate Press Director News Partnerships, yesterday at the Dubai Media Forum.
“The biggest problem we are trying to solve today is fake news. With AI’s advancement and unquestionable capabilities, teams seeking to create or combat this are turning to artificial intelligence,” said Gibbs.
The director added that technology is growing smarter and creepier at creating fake images. In fact, nowadays, besides grafting a photo with another person’s image, you can now remove and place objects in a snap, with few clicks. That’s why we need to develop tools that can spot such fake images or “doctored” impressions – the same extends to videos and text.
Efforts to Combat Fake News Using AI
To help validate information and news being shared across social media platforms, Gibbs and his team from Associated Press has launched a special AI-powered tool called “AP Verify.” The system is designed in a way that it can evaluate and authenticate news extracted from Facebook, Tweeter, and other social platforms.
Ideally, there is sort of a cut-line with minimal verified information, which the AI system uses to categorize the news. The interesting part being, the assessment and verification process happens so fast that the system is able to churn over 3,700 stories in every 24 hours, beating human journalists who manage to check only 300 stories a day.
This raises the question, is the technology replacing those supposed to do the job? According to Gibbs, “this has not taken anyone’s job.” Instead, it has freed journalists to focus on more amazing and value-adding tasks –which include analytical and investigative assignments.
Nonetheless, it’s not clear how things will be in future because as it is, AI is able to create stories on its own, just from reading trends of information online. Which in a way, this threatens certain forms of journalistic reporting.
But still, machine intelligence has a long way to come because as at now, it doesn’t understand whatever it reads or writes. Also as it stands, ethics and editorial principles are must observe aspects tied to the creator of a story.
Fake Visual News
Of late, there has been a rise in trend – people wanting to tell visual stories. Or in simple words, an obsession to deliver news using images like taking and sharing snaps of what has just happened. Research shows that consumers find visual news more convenient, but also exposes users to fake news at the glimpse.
Chetwynd, the EiC at Agence-France-Press said, “Today, anybody can as well tell stories using images, all it takes is internet connectivity.” Ideally, 90 percent of the phones owned by the public can snap a photo, but what’s alarming is the rise of user-modified/generated content.
However, we hope that artificial intelligence will improve to help us identify fake visual news faster as well.