Fake news generators use persuasion and manipulation and exploit the cognitive biases of the target audience. With fact-checking approaches, by the time a claim is finally verified, it could have reached millions of users, and the harm caused could hardly be undone. An arguably more promising direction is to focus on analyzing entire news outlets, which can be done in advance; then, we could fact-check the news before it was even written: by checking how trustworthy the outlet that has published it is (which is what journalists actually do). We will show how we do this in the Tanbih news aggregator (http://www.tanbih.org/), which aims to limit the impact of “fake news”, propaganda and media bias by making users aware of what they are reading, thus promoting media literacy and critical thinking, which are arguably the best way to address disinformation in the long run and to resist persuasion and biases. In particular, we develop media profiles that show the general factuality of reporting, the degree of propagandistic content, hyper-partisanship, leading political ideology, general frame of reporting, stance with respect to various claims and topics, as well as audience reach and audience bias in social media.
Another important observation is that the term “fake news” misleads people to focus exclusively on factuality, and to ignore the other half of the problem: the potential malicious intent. Thus, we detect the use of specific propaganda techniques in text, e.g., appeal to emotions, fear, prejudices, logical fallacies, etc. We will show how we do this in the Prta system (https://www.tanbih.org/prta), another media literacy tool, which got the Best Demo Award (Honorable Mention) at ACL-2020; an associated shared task got the Best task award (Honorable Mention) at SemEval-2020