Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Twitter Communications Network Networking Software News Technology

Reuters Built An Algorithm That Can Identify Real News On Twitter (popsci.com) 122

Reuters has built an algorithm called News Tracer that flags and verifies breaking news on Twitter. The algorithm weeds through all 500 million tweets that are posted on a daily basis to "sort real news from spam, nonsense, ads, and noise," writes Corinne Iozzio via Popular Science: In development since 2014, reports the Columbia Journalism Review, News Tracer's work starts by identifying clusters of tweets that are topically similar. Politics goes with politics; sports with sports; and so on. The system then uses language-processing to produce a coherent summary of each cluster. What differentiates News Tracer from other popular monitoring tools, is that it was built to think like a reporter. That virtual mindset takes 40 factors into account, according to Harvard's NiemanLab. It uses information like the location and status of the original poster (e.g. is she verified?) and how the news is spreading to establish a "credibility" rating for the news item in question. The system also does a kind of cross-check against sources that reporters have identified as reliable, and uses that initial network to identify other potentially reliable sources. News Tracer can also tell the difference between a trending hashtag and real news. The mix of data points News Tracer takes into account means it works best with actual, physical events -- crashes, protests, bombings -- as opposed to the he-said-she-said that can dominate news cycles.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Reuters Built An Algorithm That Can Identify Real News On Twitter

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 02, 2016 @06:24PM (#53412107)

    Does it vote Democrat, as well?

    • Fake comment.
      • Unfortunately, true [indiana.edu]. Also interesting to note that journalism as a whole is sexist (many more males than females), racist (declining and way under-representative of minorities), and opposed to equal pay for equal work. So while they tend to champion such things as equality for all in theory - they really don't carry through in actions.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by elrous0 ( 869638 )

      Yeah, if it's from Reuters and "thinks like a reporter" then the algorithm will be quite simple

      IF (newsSource = conservative)
          THEN (fakeNews = true;)
          ELSE IF (newsSource = liberal;) THEN (fakeNews = false;)
          ELSE {SEND(story,DNC,vetting);}

      • I'm thinking that Reuters working on anything AI is fake news. I think anyone that doesn't use a PAI, Personal Artificial Intelligence, as a filter on their favored news feeds enjoys the glory of Proud Stupidity. And ignoring on coming traffic is a mistake made only once.
    • Very likely....does not vote. But it sure as heck campaigns Democrat.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I bet all their news is the "real" news!

  • The source code (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 02, 2016 @06:27PM (#53412127)

    if (article.agenda() != ourAgenda) article.fake = true

    • they're going so far out of their way to not be biased that they're giving a voice to absolutely apeshit ideas. That's what got us Trump.

      What's the old joke? Reality has a liberal bias.
      • by elrous0 ( 869638 )

        Ha, you must be a time-traveler from the pre-SJW leftist era. These days the apeshit coming from the SJW left makes the old A.M. radio batshit coming from the right look positively sane.

        It's a pretty bizarro world where liberals are now the ones screaming for banning free speech and bullying their opponents into silence. They've even managed to one-up conservatives on their conspiracy theories. I remember laughing after Obama's election when pawn shops were reporting a run on gun-buying from gun nuts conv

      • Was having the Democrat party engage in the largest mass voter disenfranchisement and fraud in U.S. history in order to push the most corrupt and corporate connected politician to ever run for POTUS.

        THAT is what got us Trump.

    • by Xyrus ( 755017 )

      Actually its:

      if (Trump.isPissed()) article.real = true

    • This pretty much sums up the Al-Gore-ithm.

  • No (Score:3, Funny)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Friday December 02, 2016 @06:31PM (#53412147) Journal

    Reuters Built An Algorithm That Can Identify Real News On Twitter

    Lies.
    I hope it flagged itself.

  • The litmus test (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chris Katko ( 2923353 ) on Friday December 02, 2016 @06:36PM (#53412185)

    Does anything on Huff, and WaPo pass?

    You know the funniest thing about everyone talking about "fake news"? They make it look like it's only a conservative rag problem. People's memories are so razor short these days, they've already forgotten that The Rolling Stone published literal, fake "news" about a campus rape story, ruined peoples lives, and were sued for 8 (reduced to 3) million dollars.

    If people here were half as skeptical as they claim to be, they'd have no respect for conservative AND liberal "journalists." Science demands proof. It doesn't care if the lack-of-data is coming from people you like.

    • by fisted ( 2295862 )

      Science demands falsifiability.

      FTFY

    • I remember that Rolling Stone story, it wasn't fake news but it was bad journalism.
      • > I remember that Rolling Stone story, it wasn't fake news but it was bad journalism.

        How, exactly, do you distinguish those?

        And if anything, doesn't that imply that "bad journalism" is more dangerous because people are more likely to trust it when it comes from a supposedly-reputable source?

        • Real news gets it wrong sometimes. Everybody makes mistakes. That's what retractions are for. Fake news gets it wrong intentionally and that's what makes it dangerous.
    • Never mind that several journalists questioned the Rolling Stone article, and reported the doubts about it's credibility.
    • we've had 1 notable instance of fake liberal news in 20 years and 20 years of fake conservative news (fox).
    • They ended up getting sued over that? Good to hear.

      As for HUFFPO, I could never take them seriously, but this was a new low: http://imgur.com/a/tNYQS [imgur.com]

      Rename from huffingtonpost to huffpaint when?

      • by guises ( 2423402 )
        That link is just an image of a joke headline. What were you actually talking about here? I tried searching for the image and the headline and came up with nothing.
      • by bongey ( 974911 )

        Really bad photoshop, you covered up half the image with a white text background.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        That image appears to be fake. The article isn't on their web site and no one seems to have archived it. Beyond that, it's a rather poor Photoshop, MS Paint quality really.

    • While I agree with everything you've said, you're making false equivalences... One (huge) mistake doesn't turn a legit news organization into a supermarket tabloid, just as a few lies on one side doesn't balance out a voluminous blatant and continuous intentional disinformation campaign on the other side.

      THAT is a perfectly valid reason why discussion on the topic tends to be one-sided, even if problems on the other side need to be resolved as well.

    • by aepervius ( 535155 ) on Saturday December 03, 2016 @04:20AM (#53413911)
      Fake news are hoax news made especially to lie to people. The rolling stone stories was not fake news it was somebody which lied about being raped. That is not the same thing. Again, if I pretend I was raped by a NFL quarterback, and give an interview to CNN, it isn't fake news, because they do the interview in good faith. That is the hinging point : the publisher publish in good faith - at worst you can say they are a crap journal because they did not check properly. But if CNN start publishing a news that republican have a special club where they fiddle kiddies, and manage to get it spread, while fully knowing it is wrong, it is fake news.
      • by Raenex ( 947668 )

        Fake news are hoax news made especially to lie to people.

        That's all well and good, but there's a spectrum between hoaxes, spin, and unbiased (as is reasonably possible) factual reporting. What the mainstream media is trying to do is conflate "fake news" with alternative, right-wing news sites that put their own spin on the news, but it isn't "fake".

        As should be obvious by now, the mainstream news has a left-wing bias and apply their own spin to stories, sometimes more blatantly than others. And there are plenty of blatantly left-wing sites to correspond with righ

  • "Reuters Built An Algorithm That Can Identify Real News On Twitter"

    No they haven't. Ask me how I know.

  • [...] how the news is spreading to establish a "credibility" rating for the news item in question.

    I wonder if it takes into account the old saw about how "A lie can travel around the world while the truth is lacing up it's boots." [quoteinvestigator.com]

  • I am really sick of people misusing the word algorithm.

    Reuters did not build an algorithm. They devised an algorithm and then built a system based on that algorithm.

    Algorithms are methods... processes... ways of doing things. Algorithms are not implementations. Algorithms are the conceptual steps, not the manifestation of those steps.
    • You're using a very narrow definition of "build".

      Build (verb): 7) "to form or construct a plan, system of thought, etc"

      http://www.dictionary.com/brow... [dictionary.com]

      Completely valid use of the word.

      • You've completely missed the point. The point isn't misuse of the word "build"; it's misuse of the word "algorithm."
        • Um whatever dude, you said this:

          Reuters did not build an algorithm. They devised an algorithm

          That's what I replied to.

          TFA says "Reuters has built an algorithm called News Tracer that flags and verifies breaking news on Twitter."

          Again, perfectly valid language here. This is not "misuse" of either "algorithm" or "build". Your complaint is asinine.

  • I wonder how such a system can cope when US Secretary of State claims Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. True or false?
  • they wrote something which validates what the narrative is and what free thought is. I bet they don't tell you which is which.
  • If this was as good as it supposed to be, it'd put nearly everyone at Reuters out of a job. Their primary product is fake news.

    The only thing this will do is use natural language to identify narrative-breaking articles before they can gain traction with the public.

  • The algorithm weeds through all 500 million tweets that are posted on a daily basis to "sort real news from spam, nonsense, ads, and noise,"

    Has it found any, yet?

  • As far as I can tell this whole fake news thing started because of an article claiming Trump would end up with more popular votes in the election. I read that article and would probably fall within the category of people where it may reinforce their political biases. Yet, it was so obviously wishful thinking anyone with any degree of critical thinking would see it for what it was. Its primary source was twitter, and it said so right up front. If using twitter to determine popular vote counts makes sense to
  • I'm guessing Reuters defines "real news" as anything reported by Reuters. Everything else is of course "fake news". Pretty simple algo, really.
  • For this to be of any use, the criteria needs to be posted publicly. For example, very little proof has been proffered regarding Russia's supposed involvement in hacking the DNC. And many say it looks more like forces inside the U.S. intelligence community.

    So how does this Reuter's tool handle such a case? Claiming that a politically appointed security chief of the government states something, therefore it must be factual or true is a very poor measure. What if a Trump appointed security chief states som

If money can't buy happiness, I guess you'll just have to rent it.

Working...