CIVIC: Finding the narrative of fake news

CIVIC: Finding the narrative of fake news

As everyone can read at the summary of this COST Action, addressing complex phenomena such as fake news from the narrative perspective is one of the goals of this international network. And one of the best news of this semester is that the Spanish project “Intelligent characterization of the veracity of the information related to COVID-19” has been awarded with  a research grant within the program of BBVA Foundation for Scientific Research Related to SARS-COV-2 & COVID-19.

In this project there are some researchers who are COST members: David Camacho, Harmut Koenitz, Cláudia Silva, José Manuel Noguera-Vivo and Mar Grandío. The project has a duration of two years and it has been awarded with a grant of more than 98.000 euros.

The main researcher is Alejandro Martín, Assistant Professor at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (Spain), and member of Applied Intelligence and Data Analysis research group. The project has been designed with 14 universities and research centres from Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Finland, Singapur, China and Corea, with 20 researchers from different fields such as data mining, artificial intelligence, journalism and law.

Uncontrolled fake news or news without scientific basis dissemination causes many problems: creating fear among the population or even a huge public health issue if people adopt methods allegedly miraculous for the cure or prevention of the illness (for example, the Miracle Mineral Solution or steam inhalation).

The goal of this project is to combine the knowledge of experts in communication and journalism with experts in Artificial Intelligence techniques in order to implement a tool for the general public aimed at characterising automatically information related to COVID-19. This tool will show if a piece of information is potentially false but also the reasons for that decision, helping to demystify news considered as false. The purpose is to build an instrument of great utility for the fight against COVID-19, allowing the population to verify information in a practical way, and with a focus extensible to other illnesses or situations.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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