People are bad at spotting fake news. Can computer programs do better? | Science News


Science News is a nonprofit.

Support us by subscribing now.


People are bad at spotting fake news. Can computer programs do better?

There’s just too much misinformation online for human fact-checkers to catch it all

1:30pm, July 26, 2018
fake news detector illustration

DECEPTION MONITORS  Researchers are building online algorithms to check the veracity of online news. 

Scrolling through a news feed often feels like playing Two Truths and a Lie.

Some falsehoods are easy to spot. Like reports that First Lady Melania Trump wanted an exorcist to cleanse the White House of Obama-era demons, or that an Ohio school principal was arrested for defecating in front of a student assembly. In other cases, fiction blends a little too well with fact. Was CNN really raided by the Federal Communications Commission? Did cops actually uncover a meth lab inside an Alabama Walmart? No and no. But anyone scrolling through a slew of stories could easily be fooled.

We live in a golden age of misinformation. On Twitter, falsehoods spread further and faster than the truth (SN: 3/31/18, p. 14). In the run-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the most popular bogus articles got more Facebook shares, reactions and comments than the top real news,

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now.
Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More on Juno mission to Jupiter

From the Nature Index Paid Content