The Language of Fake News: Opening the Black-Box of Deep Learning Based Detectors

TitleThe Language of Fake News: Opening the Black-Box of Deep Learning Based Detectors
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsO'Brien, N, Latessa, S, Evangelopoulos, G, Boix, X
Conference Nameworkshop on "AI for Social Good", NIPS 2018
Date Published11/2018
Conference LocationMontreal, Canada

The digital information age has generated new outlets for content creators to publish so-called “fake news”, a new form of propaganda that is intentionally designed to mislead the reader. With the widespread effects of the fast dissemination of fake news, efforts have been made to automate the process of fake news detection. A promising solution that has come up recently is to use machine learning to detect patterns in the news sources and articles, specifically deep neural networks, which have been successful in natural language processing. However, deep networks come with lack of transparency in the decision-making process, i.e. the “black-box problem”, which obscures its reliability. In this paper, we open this “black-box” and we show that the emergent representations from deep neural networks capture subtle but consistent differences in the language of fake and real news: signatures of exaggeration and other forms of rhetoric. Unlike previous work, we test the transferability of the learning process to novel news topics. Our results demonstrate the generalization capabilities of deep learning to detect fake news in novel subjects only from language patterns.


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  • CBMM Funded