Daily Bulletin


  • Written by Gianluca Demartini, Associate professor, The University of Queensland

The information we encounter online everyday can be misleading, incomplete or fabricated.

Being exposed to “fake news” on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter can influence our thoughts and decisions. We’ve already seen misinformation interfere with elections in the United States.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly proposed artificial intelligence (AI) as the solution to the fake news dilemma.

However, the issue likely requires high levels of human involvement, as many experts agree that AI technologies need further advancement.

Read more: We made deceptive robots to see why fake news spreads, and found a weakness

I and two colleagues have received funding from Facebook to independently carry out research on a “human-in-the-loop” AI approach that might help bridge the gap.

Human-in-the-loop refers to the involvement of humans (users or moderators) to support AI in doing its job. For example, by creating training data or manually validating the decisions made by AI.

Our approach combines AI’s ability to process large amounts of data with humans’ ability to understand digital content. This is a targeted solution to fake news on Facebook, given its massive scale and subjective interpretation.

The dataset we’re compiling can be used to train AI. But we also want all social media users to be more aware of their own biases, when it comes to what they dub fake news.

Humans have biases, but also unique knowledge

To eradicate fake news, asking Facebook employees to make controversial editorial decisions is problematic, as our research found. This is because the way people perceive content depends on their cultural background, political ideas, biases, and stereotypes.

Facebook has employed thousands of people for content moderation. These moderators spend eight to ten hours a day looking at explicit and violent material such as pornography, terrorism, and beheadings, to decide which content is acceptable for users to see.

Consider them cyber janitors who clean our social media by removing inappropriate content. They play an integral role in shaping what we interact with.

A similar approach could be adapted to fake news, by asking Facebook’s moderators which articles should be removed and which should be allowed.

AI systems could do this automatically at a large scale by learning what fake news is from manually annotated examples. But even when AI can detect “forbidden” content, human moderators are needed to flag content that is controversial or subjective.

A famous example is the Napalm Girl image.

Users (and their bias) are key to fighting fake news on Facebook – AI isn't smart enough yet The nine-year-old in the Napalm Girl image is Canadian citizen Phan Thị Kim Phúc OOnt. Nick Ut / The Associated Press

The Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph shows children and soldiers escaping from a napalm bomb explosion during the Vietnam War. The image was posted on Facebook in 2016 and removed because it showed a naked nine-year-old girl, contravening Facebook’s official community standards.

Significant community protest followed, as the iconic image had obvious historical value, and Facebook allowed the photo back on its platform.

Using the best of brains and bots

In the context of verifying information, human judgement can be subjective and skewed based on a person’s background and implicit bias.

In our research we aim to collect multiple “truth labels” for the same news item from a few thousand moderators. These labels indicate the “fakeness” level of a news article.

Rather than simply collect the most popular labels, we also want to record moderators’ backgrounds and their specific judgements to track and explain ambiguity and controversy in the responses.

We’ll compile results to generate a high-quality dataset, which may help us explain cases with high levels of disagreement among moderators.

Currently, Facebook content is treated as binary - it either complies with the standards or it doesn’t.

The dataset we compile can be used train AI to better identify fake news by teaching it which news is controversial and which news is plain fake. The data can also help evaluate how effective current AI is in fake news detection.

Power to the people

While benchmarks to evaluate AI systems that can detect fake news are significant, we want to go a step further.

Instead of only asking AI or experts to make decisions about what news is fake, we should teach social media users how to identify such items for themselves. We think an approach aimed at fostering information credibility literacy is possible.

Read more: Most young Australians can’t identify fake news online

In our ongoing research, we’re collecting a vast range of user responses to identify credible news content.

While this can help us build AI training programs, it also lets us study the development of human moderator skills in recognising credible content, as they perform fake news identification tasks.

Thus, our research can help design online tasks or games aimed at training social media users to recognise trustworthy information.

Other avenues

The issue of fake news is being tackled in different ways across online platforms.

It’s quite often removed through a bottom-up approach, where users report inappropriate content, which is then reviewed and removed by the platform’s employees..

The approach Facebook is taking is to demote unreliable content rather than remove it.

In each case, the need for people to make decisions on content suitability remains. The work of both users and moderators is crucial, as humans are needed to interpret guidelines and decide on the value of digital content, especially if it’s controversial.

In doing so, they must try to look beyond cultural differences, biases and borders.

Authors: Gianluca Demartini, Associate professor, The University of Queensland

Read more http://theconversation.com/users-and-their-bias-are-key-to-fighting-fake-news-on-facebook-ai-isnt-smart-enough-yet-123767

Writers Wanted

I studied 5,000 phone images: objects were more popular than people, but women took way more selfies


Bad reactions to the COVID vaccine will be rare, but Australians deserve a proper compensation scheme


Pacific tourism is desperate for a vaccine and travel freedoms, but the industry must learn from this crisis


The Conversation


Prime Minister Interview with Ben Fordham, 2GB

BEN FORDHAM: Scott Morrison, good morning to you.    PRIME MINISTER: Good morning, Ben. How are you?    FORDHAM: Good. How many days have you got to go?   PRIME MINISTER: I've got another we...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Interview with Kieran Gilbert, Sky News

KIERAN GILBERT: Kieran Gilbert here with you and the Prime Minister joins me. Prime Minister, thanks so much for your time.  PRIME MINISTER: G'day Kieran.  GILBERT: An assumption a vaccine is ...

Daily Bulletin - avatar Daily Bulletin

Did BLM Really Change the US Police Work?

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has proven that the power of the state rests in the hands of the people it governs. Following the death of 46-year-old black American George Floyd in a case of ...

a Guest Writer - avatar a Guest Writer

Business News

Cybersecurity data means nothing to business leaders without context

Top business leaders are starting to realise the widespread impact a cyberattack can have on a business. Unfortunately, according to a study by Forrester Consulting commissioned by Tenable, some...

Scott McKinnel, ANZ Country Manager, Tenable - avatar Scott McKinnel, ANZ Country Manager, Tenable

InteliCare triple winner at prestigious national technology awards

InteliCare triple winner at prestigious national technology awards Intelicare wins each nominated category and takes out overall category at national technology 2020 iAwards. Company wins overal...

Media Release - avatar Media Release

Arriba Group Founder, Marcella Romero, wins CEO Magazine’s Managing Director of the Year

Founder and Managing Director of the Arriba Group, Marcella Romero, has won Managing Director of the Year at last night’s The CEO Magazine’s Executive of the Year Awards. The CEO Magazine's Ex...

Lanham Media - avatar Lanham Media

News Co Media Group

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion