Facebook vs Fake News: Will An AI Company Acquisition Help Turn The Tide?


Facebook has had a battle with fake news since the 2016 United States elections fiasco that had both critics and supporters question the social media’s take on partisan politics. However, with news of Facebook acquiring a new AI company may solidify its stand on the matter – as the new acquisition may propel the social media network on a better position to combat fake news on its pages.

Facebook’s crusade against fake news has been one of the highlights of the past year since the controversial rise of what appears to be propaganda-driven publications that manipulate facts for the sake of views. With political pages and posts on the loose, alongside recent data breaches, will Facebook be able to turn the tide?

The news of Facebook fighting against fake news isn’t entirely new, but its approach of actually getting an AI company to do so can be quite the surprising maneuver.

In fact, Facebook’s new acquisition involves a company that is focused on artificial intelligence. The acquisition, amounting to as much as $23 to $30-million, made Facebook acquire Bloomsbury AI. This is a London-based startup with a primary focus on something called natural language processing (NLP), which in itself revolves around reading comprehension. Translated from machine terms, it basically allows machines to be able to answer questions that are based on articles.

This appears to be part of Facebook’s move to “regain” its lost reputation after it had been mdm - facebook vs fake news (1)under fire for various content and news issues after the recent 2016 United States elections. It appears Bloomsbury AI will be tasked to make sure moderation issues will be fixed as a lot of content are continuously being sent to Facebook each day.

Interestingly, Bloomsbury’s artificial intelligence technology may also be of use for Facebook’s question and answer portal, as the technology with Bloomsbury’s AI will allow it to be able to answer queries from users. This could also help Facebook be able to improve the search results they’re getting and be able to assist users when it comes to obtaining relevant answers to their concerns.

London-based Bloomsbury has a lot of notable investors in the city, both institutional and private. Among the former included UCL Technology Fund, IQ Capital, Seedcamp, Fly.VC, and the London Co-Investment Fund. Meanwhile, among the latter included William Tunstall-Pedoe, one of the minds responsible for helping Amazon be able to create Alexa, its voice-activated assistant.

Interestingly, the acquisition of Bloomsbury AI might be more acqui-hire than acquisition, as a lot of Facebook’s goals appears to be directed more towards the team behind Bloomsbury AI than the actual company in itself.

It can be noted that Bloomsbury AI’s CTO is Sebastian Riedel, who is working at London’s Global University as a professor, who also specializes in NLP. He also advises Factmata, which is on its way to create tools that will be able to combat the threat of fake news. Factmata, like Bloomsbury AI, is known more for its slate of highly-skilled researchers than their actual product.





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