Credibility of a news organization is one of their main assets and due to the influx of reports of fake news on networks like Facebook, the very integrity of news reporting is now in a delicate time. However, reputable news organizations like Reuters were actually prepared for such an eventuality as reported by Columbia Journalism Review.
Reuters has been in the news reporting business for the last 165 years and from the interview, it displayed that it is taking advantage of of social media since it has become an important medium for news distribution. Nevertheless, there is the danger of fake news being floated around and the company has a tool to tackle that very problem.
Apparently Reuters created a tool called News Tracer that analyzes every tweet in real time. As you know, over 500 million tweets are generated every day on Twitter and it is a data goldmine. They also did research and found out that around 10-20% of news breaks happen of Twitter and that is why they deployed the tool to monitor every tweet.
Getting the right information from this stream of tweets is essential. That is why the algorithm has filters where it can sort out spam and advertisements as well as categorizing tweets into clusters (business, sports and the likes.) It then apparently uses AI (natural language processing) to generate a summary from each cluster. It also identifies if posts are news or just a popular hashtag.
News Tracer goes further than categorizing tweets. It assigns a credibility score to a person depending on his/her identity, location, verification status, virality of the tweet and whether people are confirming or denying the post. It also checks the tweets with an internal database of reliable sources.
The algorithm has become a success according to the company. Apparently it is able to allow Reuters to report news 8-60 minutes before competition, which is a huge advantage for the media company.
This is a great example of a traditional media company using AI to scour for genuine news on social media whilst weeding out the fake news. Facebook should learn from what Reuters is doing so as to feed us with genuine news.