In the age of social media, rampant hoaxes and psychological operations, it can be hard to distinguish what’s true and what’s false on the internet. With the phenomenon of “fake news” dominating the political headlines, it’s now more important than ever for citizens to be able to determine the veracity of the news they are reading. To help users determine the truth, French startup Storyzy is employing natural language processing technology to check the accuracy of quotes attributed to famous individuals such as politicians.
Storyzy recently launched a quote verifier tool on its website that allows anyone to instantly check whether a quote is accurate or not, as reported by TechCrunch. A quick search on the site correctly identified Barack Obama as the source of the quote, “We are the change that we seek.”
In contrast, entering a quote often falsely attributed to Martin Luther King Jr.—”I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy.”—yielded an image of an exclamation point and a pointed warning: “This quote is dubious.”
Storyzy said its natural language processing technology can transform text from online news sources into data that can be analyzed and checked for accuracy. The technology also gathers associated metadata, such as the names of speakers and the organizations they represent.
The company has collected more than 15 million quotes spoken by 1.2 million people from trusted online news articles. Quotes entered into the Storyzy system are checked against this database to determine their authenticity.
The data collection process runs 24/7, with 50,000 new quotes added every day, according to Storyzy.
Storyzy’s capabilities could be in critical need given the realities of the amount of false information online and the dwindling critical thinking capabilities of today’s audiences.
PolitiFact has tracked a sharp increase in fake news, identifying 156 websites that present false or fake stories. The problem is so widespread that Facebook has instituted a program to weed out fake news stories and purveyors.
A 2016 study conducted by a team at Stanford’s Graduate School of Education highlighted how easily young users raised on the internet—so called “digital natives”—can be duped by apocryphal information. The researchers spent more than a year evaluating how well middle school, high school and college students across the country can evaluate the reliability of online sources of information. Their conclusion about the students’ capability to discern truthful data came down to one word: “bleak.”
Tyler Schulze is vice president, strategy & development at Veritone. He serves as general manager for developer partnerships, cognitive engine ecosystem, and media ingestion for the Veritone platform. Learn more about our platform and join the Veritone developer ecosystem today.