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Lie detector Fake news spotting tool gets better

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An EU-funded project to develop a tool to spot false information online has made “a lot of progress”, but the technology still has a way to go. swissinfo.chexternal link is a partner in the project, which has just come to an end. 

Many fake news stories that are compelling to click on and have a ring of truth about them soar on the social web, for instance on Twitter, where links are given the same weighting regardless of source.

The Pheme project brings together IT experts and universities to devise technologies that could help journalists find and verify online claims. Models are being programmed to spot the opinions of users about a claim, and based on that, pick out how likely something is to be true or false.

The project leader is Kalina Bontcheva, a professor at the University of Sheffield in the UK. “It’s hard for machines to detect satire and irony, half-truths and propaganda, but machine performance is improving continuously,” she told swissinfo.ch.

Fake news was one of the features of the 2016 American presidential election. Some of the made-up stories were not created for political gain, but simply to make money. (Julie Hunt, swissinfo.chexternal link)