Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Software that can automatically detect fake news

01.02.2019

Invented stories, distorted facts: fake news is spreading like wildfire on the internet and is often shared on without thought, particularly on social media. In response, Fraunhofer researchers have developed a system that automatically analyzes social media posts, deliberately filtering out fake news and disinformation. To do this, the tool analyzes both content and metadata, classifying it using machine learning techniques and drawing on user interaction to optimize the results as it goes.

Fake news is designed to provoke a specific response or incite agitation against an individual or a group of people. Its aim is to influence and manipulate public opinion on targeted topics of the day. This fake news can spread like wildfire over the internet, particularly on social media such as Facebook or Twitter.


To identify fake news, Fraunhofer FKIE’s new machine learning tool analyzes both text and metadata.

© Fraunhofer FKIE

What is more, identifying it can be a tricky task. That is where a classification tool developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Communication, Information Processing and Ergonomics FKIE comes in, automatically analyzing social media posts and processing vast quantities of data.

As well as processing text, the tool also factors metadata into its analysis and delivers its findings in visual form.

“Our software focuses on Twitter and other websites. Tweets are where you find the links pointing to the web pages that contain the actual fake news. In other words, social media acts as a trigger, if you like. Fake news items are often hosted on websites designed to mimic the web presence of news agencies and can be difficult to distinguish from the genuine sites. In many cases, they will be based on official news items, but in which the wording has been altered,” explains Prof. Ulrich Schade of Fraunhofer FKIE, whose research group developed the tool.

Schade and his team begin the process by building libraries made up of serious news pieces and also texts that users have identified as fake news. These then form the learning sets used to train the system. To filter out fake news, the researchers employ machine learning techniques that automatically search for specific markers in texts and metadata.

For instance, in a political context, it could be formulations or combinations of words that rarely occur in everyday language or in journalistic reporting, such as “the current chancellor of Germany.” Linguistic errors are also a red flag. This is particularly common when the author of the fake news was writing in a language other than their native tongue. In such cases, incorrect punctuation, spelling, verb forms or sentence structure are all warnings of a potential fake news item. Other indicators might include out-of-place expressions or cumbersome formulations.

“When we supply the system with an array of markers, the tool will teach itself to select the markers that work. Another decisive factor is choosing the machine learning approach that will deliver the best results. It’s a very time-consuming process, because you have to run the various algorithms with different combinations of markers,” says Schade.

Metadata yields vital clues

Metadata is also used as a marker. Indeed, it plays a crucial role in differentiating between authentic sources of information and fake news: For instance, how often are posts being issued, when is a tweet scheduled, and at what time? The timing of a post can be very telling. For instance, it can reveal the country and time zone of the originator of the news.

A high send frequency suggests bots, which increases the probability of a fake news piece. Social bots send their links to a huge number of users, for instance to spread uncertainty among the public. An account’s connections and followers can also prove fertile ground for analysts.

This is because it allows researchers to build heat maps and graphs of send data, send frequency and follower networks. These network structures and their individual nodes can be used to calculate which node in the network circulated an item of fake news or initiated a fake news campaign.

Another feature of the automated tool is its ability to detect hate speech. Posts that pose as news but also include hate speech often link to fake news. “The important thing is to develop a marker capable of identifying clear cases of hate speech. Examples include expressions such as ‘political scum’ or ‘nigger’,” says the linguist and mathematician.

The researchers are able to adapt their system to various types of text in order to classify them. Both public bodies and businesses can use the tool to identify and combat fake news. “Our software can be personalized and trained to suit the needs of any customer. For public bodies, it can be a useful early warning system,” finishes Schade.

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.fraunhofer.de/en/press/research-news/2019/february/software-that-can...

Silke Wiesemann | Fraunhofer Forschung Kompakt

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Touchscreens go 3D with buttons that pulsate and vibrate under your fingertips
14.03.2019 | Universität des Saarlandes

nachricht EU project CALADAN set to reduce manufacturing cost of Terabit/s capable optical transceivers
11.03.2019 | IHP - Leibniz-Institut für innovative Mikroelektronik

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Stellar cartography

The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona released its first image of the surface magnetic field of another star. In a paper in the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the PEPSI team presents a Zeeman- Doppler-Image of the surface of the magnetically active star II Pegasi.

A special technique allows astronomers to resolve the surfaces of faraway stars. Those are otherwise only seen as point sources, even in the largest telescopes...

Im Focus: Heading towards a tsunami of light

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have proposed a way to create a completely new source of radiation. Ultra-intense light pulses consist of the motion of a single wave and can be described as a tsunami of light. The strong wave can be used to study interactions between matter and light in a unique way. Their research is now published in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

"This source of radiation lets us look at reality through a new angle - it is like twisting a mirror and discovering something completely different," says...

Im Focus: Revealing the secret of the vacuum for the first time

New research group at the University of Jena combines theory and experiment to demonstrate for the first time certain physical processes in a quantum vacuum

For most people, a vacuum is an empty space. Quantum physics, on the other hand, assumes that even in this lowest-energy state, particles and antiparticles...

Im Focus: Sussex scientists one step closer to a clock that could replace GPS and Galileo

Physicists in the EPic Lab at University of Sussex make crucial development in global race to develop a portable atomic clock

Scientists in the Emergent Photonics Lab (EPic Lab) at the University of Sussex have made a breakthrough to a crucial element of an atomic clock - devices...

Im Focus: Sensing shakes

A new way to sense earthquakes could help improve early warning systems

Every year earthquakes worldwide claim hundreds or even thousands of lives. Forewarning allows people to head for safety and a matter of seconds could spell...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Modelica Conference with 330 visitors from 21 countries at OTH Regensburg

11.03.2019 | Event News

Selection Completed: 580 Young Scientists from 88 Countries at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

01.03.2019 | Event News

LightMAT 2019 – 3rd International Conference on Light Materials – Science and Technology

28.02.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Levitating objects with light

19.03.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

New technique for in-cell distance determination

19.03.2019 | Life Sciences

Stellar cartography

19.03.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>