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article imageTwitter buys startup to quickly spot fake news

By Tim Sandle     Jun 4, 2019 in Technology
Twitter has acquired the technology startup Fabula AI, which uses machine learning to help detect the spread of misinformation online. This is part of Twitter's strategy to rein in some of the fake news content that appears across its channels.
Fabula AI is a London-based company which has been developing algorithms and machine learning to identify 'fake news' (as in news content that either is not real, seeks to mislead or at least hasn't been verified). Fake news can be deliberately or accidentally circulated. With deliberate circulation there is often an intent, normally originating from the perpetrator, to distort or to influence events. With accidental 'fake news', this refers to stories that may have some truth to them, but they are not completely accurate.
Twitter has indicated that it is concerned about some of the fake news that appears on its platform. In May 2019, the company announced that it was about to conduct research into how white nationalists and white supremacists use the website, due to concerns over fake news from fascist organizations being spread over the Twitter network.
Twitter CTO Parag Agrawal said that the acquisition "will be a key driver as we work to help people feel safe on Twitter and help them see relevant information... we will be able to improve the health of the conversation, as well as products including the timeline, recommendations, the explore tab and the onboarding experience."
Fabula AI uses graph deep learning to detect network manipulation. Graph deep learning is a relatively new technique for applying machine learning techniques to network-structured data. The approach can readily analyze very large and complex datasets to describe relations and interactions, and also to pinpoint signals. This approach provides a foundation for detecting fake news.
According to The Independent, Fabula AI says the following about its technology: "As this technology detects the spread pattern, it is language and locale independent; in fact, it can be used even when the content is encrypted. We also believe that such an approach, given it is based on the propagation pattern through huge social networks, is far more resilient to adversarial attacks."
Following the acquisition, the Fabula AI core team, including co-founder Michael Bronstein, will be joining Twitter’s Cortex unit, a group of researchers and engineers that work on machine learning technology for Twitter.
More about fake news, Twitter, Fabula AI, Parag Agrawal
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