Data and Technology for Fact-checking (2018-2019)
Today, our society is struggling with an unprecedented amount of falsehoods, hyperboles and half-truths that do harm to democracy, health, economy and national security. Fact-checking is a vital tool for defending against this onslaught. Despite the rise of fact-checking efforts globally, fact-checkers find themselves increasingly overwhelmed and find it difficult to reach some segments of the public with their messages.
This project team sought to leverage the power of data and computing to help make fact-checking and dissemination of fact-checks to the public more effective, scalable and sustainable. Building on the work of an affiliated Summer 2018 Data+ team, the project team designed an interface for data verification.
First, the team collected audio from newscasts and YouTube videos. These were then transcribed via Google Cloud Speech-to-Text-API and checked for check-worthy factual claims using ClaimBuster. Through the use of information retrieval and natural language processing techniques each claim was matched in a database of fact-checks.
Ultimately, the team plans to deliver a live fact-check stream that can be played over live broadcasts and YouTube videos. The current version has 65-80% accuracy, thus human input is needed for better curation. The team has introduced the tools to journalists who can use it to monitor and update claims in real time. The team did its first live test-run of the tool on the 2019 State of the Union speech. Team members hope to have the next generation of the pop-up fact-checking system, SQUASH, available for use for the 2020 U.S. elections.
Fall 2018 – Spring 2019
Developing Automated Tools for Political Fact-checking (poster by Matthew O’Boyle, Sherry Feng, presented at Bass Connections Showcase, Duke University, April 17, 2019; runner up, Bass Connections Poster Competition, Judges’ Selection)
Data and Technology for Fact-checking (poster by Archana Ahlawat, David Cheng, Fangge Deng, Lucas Fagan, Sherry Feng, Yuanhao Guan, Ethan Holland, Sherry Hu, Drew Learner, Matthew O'Boyle, Ali Soyupak, Caroline Wang, Jason Wang, Connie Wu, Harry Xie, Arthur Zhao, Liuyi Zhu, Towqir Aziz, Xinghao Cheng, Mayuresh Kunjir, Junbo Li, Yuhao Wen, Bill Adair, Pankaj K. Agarwal, Jun Yang, presented at Bass Connections Showcase, Duke University, April 17, 2019)
Challenges in Automated Pop-up Fact Checking (poster by Fangge Deng, Yuanhao Guan, Ali Soyupak, Jason Wang, Connie Wu, Arthur Zhao, Xinghao Cheng, Mayuresh Kunjir, Junbo Li, Bill Adair, Pankaj K. Agarwal, Jun Yang, presented at Bass Connections Showcase, Duke University, April 17, 2019)
This Team in the News
- William Adair, Sanford School of Public Policy-DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy
- Pankaj Agarwal, Arts & Sciences-Computer Science
- Jun Yang, Arts & Sciences-Computer Science
/graduate Team Members
Towqir Aziz, Bioethics and Sci Policy - AM
Mayuresh Kunjir, Computer Science-PHD
Yuhao Wen, Computer Science-MS
/undergraduate Team Members
Archana Ahlawat, Computer Science (BS), Political Science (AB2)
Sherry Feng, Computer Science (AB)
Drew Learner, Interdept PP/VMS (AB)
Matthew O'Boyle, Computer Science (BS)
Jason Wang, Computer Science (BS)
Connie Wu, Computer Science (BS), Statistical Science (BS2)
Fengyu Xie, Computer Science (BS), Statistical Science (BS2)
Liuyi Zhu, Computer Science (BS), Mathematics (BS2)
/zcommunity Team Members
James T. Hamilton, Stanford University
Chengkai Li, University of Texas, Arlington
Cong Yu, Google Research