IIT-Kharagpur creates algorithm to identify fake news during natural disasters

IIT-Kharagpur creates algorithm to identify fake news during natural disasters
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20 Nov, 2018

The Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur has developed an artificial intelligence tool to identify and filter out fake news about natural disasters on social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter, a report in The Economic Times said.

The AI has been designed to extract critical information from social media platforms and will verify the authenticity of the posts and share data to initiate and contribute rescue/relief operations, the report stated.

“Our solution can detect fake news and can even alert users in the time of disasters through deep machine learning algorithms,” said Saptarshi Ghosh, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at IIT Kharagpur.

Ghosh, who heads the team developing the algorithm, further told ET, “We are developing AI methods to extract specific types of critical and actionable information from social media content posted during disasters such as resource needs, resource availability and information about trapped people.”

The solution at hand, however, is limited only to disasters in terms of identifying fake news or rumors with a 90% accuracy in differentiating fake posts from the real ones.

The report stated that only 2% of tweets contain information pertinent to disasters. A computer programme mines through these tweets and sends the relevant posts to relief operators in disaster zones.

IIT Kharagpur has collaborated with Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) on this project and both have submitted a proposal to Microsoft Research India. “If the proposal gets accepted, we will collaborate with Microsoft Research and QCRI to develop the systems for aiding post-disaster relief operations,” Ghosh was quoted as telling ET.

The project received funding from IIT Kharagpur’s Institute Scheme for Innovative Research and Development grant, Microsoft Research India and ITRA, Media Labs Asia and Department of Electronics and Information Technology, the report said.

IIT Kharagpur in association with the Centre for Urban Science and Engineering at IIT Bombay has also proposed a research project to the Department of Science and Technology.

Going forward, the team will develop a web-based system to aid post-disaster relief operations.