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article imageAI will be used to spot fake news in Mexican election

By Tim Sandle     Jul 1, 2018 in Politics
Mexico - In the post-Trump era of politics, fake news stories are hampering the democratic process and affecting voter choices. To partly address this in relation to the Mexican presidential elections, an AI-powered search tool is being used.
Polls are opening across Mexico to elect a new president, plus 128 members of the Senate and 500 members of the Chamber of Deputies. This follows a campaign marred by political violence, with over 130 candidates and political workers killed since campaigning began in September. The main focus is on who will be the new president: favorite Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the left-wing former mayor of Mexico City representing a social democratic party (the National Regeneration Movement); or one of the other three: Ricardo Anaya, a right-winger representing a conservative party (the National Action Party ), José Antonio Meade, a center-right candidate from the governig Institutional Revolutionary Party; and Jaime Rodríguez, an independent centerist. Incumbent Enrique Peña Nieto is not able to run again under constitutional law.
The importance of the media in terms of reporting on the elections has never been higher since these are the biggest elections, in terms of the number of voters (88 million Mexicans entitled to vote) in Mexico's history. Given there are state elections taking place as well, there are 18,000 elected posts up for grabs.
In order to ensure that news coverage is fair and balanced, an artificial intelligence tool called Krzana is being tested by the Verificado 2018 initiative. Verificado 2018 which was set up by Mexican media to challenge fake news. According to the BBC, Verificado has put together by some 90 organisations, such as publishers, media groups, NGOs and universities. Backing the initiative are Facebook and Google, with the collective aim to monitor the Mexican election.
Kranaz's deep linguistic analysis is designed to supports fast, trustworthy journalism. It is in place in many newsrooms for fact-checking. The engine was founded by Quin Murray and Toby Abel. Krzana functions, according to Euromoney, as a different type of real-time search engine that pulls unstructured data out of thousands of sources, including specialist trade journals, local papers, general news services, regulatory reports, RSS feeds and social media.
The application in the Mexican election will enable media groups pick out and react quickly to bogus information,and to challenge some of the apparent widespread use of bots and trolls to spread fake stories on social media throughout the build up to the Mexican poll. Here, according to Samantha Bradshaw, a researcher with Oxford University's Computational Propaganda Project, the Mexican government has "spam-bots"to "target journalists" and "spread misinformation".
In a research paper, co-written with Philip Howard, she writes: "These bots are often used to flood social media networks with spam and fake news. They can also amplify marginal voices and ideas by inflating the number of likes, shares and retweets they receive, creating an artificial sense of popularity, momentum or relevance." The paper is titled "Troops, Trolls and Troublemakers: A Global Inventory of Organized Social Media Manipulation."
By using Krzana, once a fake news story has been spotted, media groups that are signed up to Verificado 2018 aim to write messages that debunk claims or show who has put them together, according to the BBC.
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