Facebook Wants to Help Wikipedia with Factoid Accuracy

September 12, 2022

Yes, Facebook is an arbiter of truth.

Researchers have a love-hate relationship with Wikipedia. They love that it is a constantly updated, digital encyclopedia with quick search and reference tools, but hate its inaccuracies. SinguarlityHub discusses how Facebook wants to change Wikipedia’s unreliability: “Meta Is Building An AI To Fact-Check Wikipedia-All 6.5 Million Articles.”

Wikipedia’s editors wrote: “The online encyclopedia does not consider itself to be reliable as a source and discourages readers from using it in academic or research settings.” Most basic information on Wikipedia is true, but it is good to double-check information, but most people do not do that. Facebook armed with its new Meta facade is working on an AI to verify all of Wikipedia’s information.

The AI would fact-check the information in the articles, but it works differently than expected:

“Meta’s model will “understand” content not by comparing text strings and making sure they contain the same words, but by comparing mathematical representations of blocks of text, which it arrives at using natural language understanding (NLU) techniques. What we have done is to build an index of all these web pages by chunking them into passages and providing an accurate representation for each passage,’ Fabio Petroni, Meta’s Fundamental AI Research tech lead manager, told Digital Trends. ‘That is not representing word-by-word the passage, but the meaning of the passage. That means that two chunks of text with similar meanings will be represented in a very close position in the resulting n-dimensional space where all these passages are stored.’”

Thankfully the AI’s learning dataset of four million Wikipedia citations is cleaner and better than what other AI have learned from in the past. The dataset is also constantly being updated. The developers are also teaching the AI how to distinguish a reliable source from a bad one, i.e. a scientific paper vs. a conspiracy theory article.

The Meta team said no one has used AI to verify Wikipedia’s information before. It is great that Facebook is doing the world a favor by fact-checking Wikipedia, but what will Facebook correct in the Facebook Wikipedia information?

Whitney Grace, September 12, 2022

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