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A New AI Tool to Counter Misinformation on Wikipedia

Khadija Boufous Khadija Boufous
19th July 2022
A New AI Tool to Counter Misinformation on Wikipedia
A new AI tool will make Wikipedia's entries more accurate (Getty).

Note: The views and opinions expressed in blog/editorial posts are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the views or opinions of Misbar.

Several Internet surfers and academics describe Wikipedia as an untrustworthy source to get reliable information. Nevertheless, it has been the most popular online encyclopedia with over 6 million articles. Meta has recently developed a new AI tool to fight misinformation over Wikipedia entries and citations.

A New AI Tool to Combat Misinformation

Facebook parent Meta announced on July 11, 2022, a new AI-powered tool called “Sphere” to address misinformation circulating online. According to the company, this is the first AI tool capable of automatically scanning and fact-checking hundreds of thousands of citations at once, especially since it is challenging to check more than 17,000 new articles added each month.

This move toward fighting misinformation came after a wave of criticism over Facebook’s misinformation policies, especially after President Joe Biden accused the company of spreading COVID-19 vaccine misinformation.

Meta has chosen Wikipedia, one of the most crowd-sourced internet encyclopedias, to be the first AI model’s client. Wikipedia has already started using the new tool to scan its pages, question sources, and recommend corrections and more reliable sources to its users.

Automated Tools Can Scan, Fact-Check, and Recommend

“Automated tools can help identify gibberish or statements that lack citations, but helping human editors determine whether a source backs up a claim is a much more complex task — one that requires an AI system’s depth of understanding and analysis,” Meta wrote in a statement.
In a video posted on Meta’s official page on Facebook, the process of Sphere was carefully explained.

Shani Evenstein Sigalov, a researcher at Tel Aviv University and long-time Wikimedian, described this new AI tool as a powerful example of machine learning tools that can help recommend citations and accurate sources. “Improving these processes will allow us to attract new editors to Wikipedia and provide better, more reliable information to billions of people,” Sigalov said.

According to CNBC, the arrangement with Wikipedia does not involve any financial compensation in either direction. “Meta gets to access a widescale training grounds for Sphere, and Wikipedia gains AI tools that could potentially streamline its verification process.”

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