Predicting the political bias and the factuality of reporting of entire news outlets are critical elements of media profiling, which is an understudied but an increasingly important research direction. The present level of proliferation of fake, biased, and propagandistic content online has made it impossible to fact-check every single suspicious claim, either manually or automatically. Thus, it has been proposed to profile entire news outlets and to look for those that are likely to publish fake or biased content. This makes it possible to detect likely “fake news” the moment they are published, by simply checking the reliability of their source. From a practical perspective, political bias and factuality of reporting have a linguistic aspect but also a social context. Here, we study the impact of both, namely (i) what was written (i.e., what was published by the target medium, and how it describes itself in Twitter) vs. (ii) who reads it (i.e., analyzing the target medium’s audience on social media). We further study (iii) what was written about the target medium (in Wikipedia). The evaluation results show that what was written matters most, and we further show that putting all information sources together yields huge improvements over the current state-of-the-art.
We explore the task of predicting the leading political ideology or bias of news articles. First, we collect and release a large dataset of 34,737 articles that were manually annotated for political ideology –left, center, or right–, which is well-balanced across both topics and media. We further use a challenging experimental setup where the test examples come from media that were not seen during training, which prevents the model from learning to detect the source of the target news article instead of predicting its political ideology. From a modeling perspective, we propose an adversarial media adaptation, as well as a specially adapted triplet loss. We further add background information about the source, and we show that it is quite helpful for improving article-level prediction. Our experimental results show very sizable improvements over using state-of-the-art pre-trained Transformers in this challenging setup.
In the context of fake news, bias, and propaganda, we study two important but relatively under-explored problems: (i) trustworthiness estimation (on a 3-point scale) and (ii) political ideology detection (left/right bias on a 7-point scale) of entire news outlets, as opposed to evaluating individual articles. In particular, we propose a multi-task ordinal regression framework that models the two problems jointly. This is motivated by the observation that hyper-partisanship is often linked to low trustworthiness, e.g., appealing to emotions rather than sticking to the facts, while center media tend to be generally more impartial and trustworthy. We further use several auxiliary tasks, modeling centrality, hyper-partisanship, as well as left-vs.-right bias on a coarse-grained scale. The evaluation results show sizable performance gains by the joint models over models that target the problems in isolation.
We present SemEval-2019 Task 8 on Fact Checking in Community Question Answering Forums, which features two subtasks. Subtask A is about deciding whether a question asks for factual information vs. an opinion/advice vs. just socializing. Subtask B asks to predict whether an answer to a factual question is true, false or not a proper answer. We received 17 official submissions for subtask A and 11 official submissions for Subtask B. For subtask A, all systems improved over the majority class baseline. For Subtask B, all systems were below a majority class baseline, but several systems were very close to it. The leaderboard and the data from the competition can be found at http://competitions.codalab.org/competitions/20022.
We describe our submission to SemEval-2019 Task 4 on Hyperpartisan News Detection. We rely on a variety of engineered features originally used to detect propaganda. This is based on the assumption that biased messages are propagandistic and promote a particular political cause or viewpoint. In particular, we trained a logistic regression model with features ranging from simple bag of words to vocabulary richness and text readability. Our system achieved 72.9% accuracy on the manually annotated testset, and 60.8% on the test data that was obtained with distant supervision. Additional experiments showed that significant performance gains can be achieved with better feature pre-processing.
We introduce Tanbih, a news aggregator with intelligent analysis tools to help readers understanding what’s behind a news story. Our system displays news grouped into events and generates media profiles that show the general factuality of reporting, the degree of propagandistic content, hyper-partisanship, leading political ideology, general frame of reporting, and stance with respect to various claims and topics of a news outlet. In addition, we automatically analyse each article to detect whether it is propagandistic and to determine its stance with respect to a number of controversial topics.
We present a study on predicting the factuality of reporting and bias of news media. While previous work has focused on studying the veracity of claims or documents, here we are interested in characterizing entire news media. This is an under-studied, but arguably important research problem, both in its own right and as a prior for fact-checking systems. We experiment with a large list of news websites and with a rich set of features derived from (i) a sample of articles from the target news media, (ii) its Wikipedia page, (iii) its Twitter account, (iv) the structure of its URL, and (v) information about the Web traffic it attracts. The experimental results show sizable performance gains over the baseline, and reveal the importance of each feature type.
We present an effective end-to-end memory network model that jointly (i) predicts whether a given document can be considered as relevant evidence for a given claim, and (ii) extracts snippets of evidence that can be used to reason about the factuality of the target claim. Our model combines the advantages of convolutional and recurrent neural networks as part of a memory network. We further introduce a similarity matrix at the inference level of the memory network in order to extract snippets of evidence for input claims more accurately. Our experiments on a public benchmark dataset, FakeNewsChallenge, demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach.
A reasonable approach for fact checking a claim involves retrieving potentially relevant documents from different sources (e.g., news websites, social media, etc.), determining the stance of each document with respect to the claim, and finally making a prediction about the claim’s factuality by aggregating the strength of the stances, while taking the reliability of the source into account. Moreover, a fact checking system should be able to explain its decision by providing relevant extracts (rationales) from the documents. Yet, this setup is not directly supported by existing datasets, which treat fact checking, document retrieval, source credibility, stance detection and rationale extraction as independent tasks. In this paper, we support the interdependencies between these tasks as annotations in the same corpus. We implement this setup on an Arabic fact checking corpus, the first of its kind.
Opinion mining in Arabic is a challenging task given the rich morphology of the language. The task becomes more challenging when it is applied to Twitter data, which contains additional sources of noise, such as the use of unstandardized dialectal variations, the nonconformation to grammatical rules, the use of Arabizi and code-switching, and the use of non-text objects such as images and URLs to express opinion. In this paper, we perform an analytical study to observe how such linguistic phenomena vary across different Arab regions. This study of Arabic Twitter characterization aims at providing better understanding of Arabic Tweets, and fostering advanced research on the topic. Furthermore, we explore the performance of the two schools of machine learning on Arabic Twitter, namely the feature engineering approach and the deep learning approach. We consider models that have achieved state-of-the-art performance for opinion mining in English. Results highlight the advantages of using deep learning-based models, and confirm the importance of using morphological abstractions to address Arabic’s complex morphology.
While sentiment analysis in English has achieved significant progress, it remains a challenging task in Arabic given the rich morphology of the language. It becomes more challenging when applied to Twitter data that comes with additional sources of noise including dialects, misspellings, grammatical mistakes, code switching and the use of non-textual objects to express sentiments. This paper describes the “OMAM” systems that we developed as part of SemEval-2017 task 4. We evaluate English state-of-the-art methods on Arabic tweets for subtask A. As for the remaining subtasks, we introduce a topic-based approach that accounts for topic specificities by predicting topics or domains of upcoming tweets, and then using this information to predict their sentiment. Results indicate that applying the English state-of-the-art method to Arabic has achieved solid results without significant enhancements. Furthermore, the topic-based method ranked 1st in subtasks C and E, and 2nd in subtask D.
Evaluation of machine translation (MT) into morphologically rich languages (MRL) has not been well studied despite posing many challenges. In this paper, we explore the use of embeddings obtained from different levels of lexical and morpho-syntactic linguistic analysis and show that they improve MT evaluation into an MRL. Specifically we report on Arabic, a language with complex and rich morphology. Our results show that using a neural-network model with different input representations produces results that clearly outperform the state-of-the-art for MT evaluation into Arabic, by almost over 75% increase in correlation with human judgments on pairwise MT evaluation quality task. More importantly, we demonstrate the usefulness of morpho-syntactic representations to model sentence similarity for MT evaluation and address complex linguistic phenomena of Arabic.