How Monitio fights misinformation with assisted fact-checking

Tools for assisted fact-checking is one of the new Monitio key-feature under development. The automated tools is jointly developed with University of Cambridge which specializes in verifying news. Professor Andreas Vlachos from University of Cambridge is a scientific front-runner in the field of fact-checking and part of the Monitio team.

Raising misinformation calls for fact-checking tools
The number of false claims in current news, events or high-profile individuals online is growing every day. The impact of such claims can turn into misinformation campaigns as we have seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, or cyber wars of propaganda and false information as encountered since the invasion of Ukraine.

Professionals in different media companies are under enormous pressure to verify their claims through fact-checking. Monitio aims to support media professionals who use media monitoring for researching facts and trends in checking their sources.

What are the most significant pain points in fact-checking?
When you work with fact-checking to determine the truthfulness of a claim, you need to answer questions related to the claim. Intuition, world knowledge within a given time frame associated with the claim, and insights into local politics are necessary. Professional fact-checkers can spend hours and sometimes an entire day (or more) verifying a single claim. Depending on its complexity.

Due to the challenges faced by professionals when verifying a claim manually, there has been a growing focus on how to accelerate the fact-checking process via automation. A study showed that generating questions and answering them reduce the time spent on verification by up to 20%.

How Monitio approach fact-checking
Fact verification questions aim to look for evidence and mainly tackle information that is missing from the claim. Therefore, the automatic question generation task is challenging yet useful to support media professionals.

Monitio generates questions based on different spans of the claim as well as its source and date. Fact-checking questions are generated for each span, guiding the system to question different parts of the claim:

Evaluation results based on human feedback as well as on technical measures show that Monitio’s question generation method produces more intelligible, clear, relevant, and informative questions compared to other tested systems.

Assisted fact-checking and claim verification will be integrated in Monitio with a first version planned for the product launch in 2022.