Skip to content. Skip to main navigation.

Spring 2018

Inquiry Magazine Archive

Fib Finder

Just the Facts

Expanded fact-checking tool aims to bust fake news Illustration by Jens Bonnke

Newspaper lying illustration

"Fake news" may be the newest entry in the dictionary, but if two UTA professors have their way, it will also soon be a thing of the past. Chengkai Li, associate professor of computer science and engineering, and Mark Tremayne, communication assistant professor, have teamed with Duke University researchers to expand their automated fact-checking tool, ClaimBuster. The group recently earned a three-year, $500,000 NSF grant for its work.

"With thousands of sources of information offering their own versions of the truth, using computational journalism techniques to help readers sort through it makes sense," says Dr. Tremayne. "Also, putting claims in context can help people understand the broader picture, even if a statement is partly true."

ClaimBuster monitors live discourse, social media, and news to identify factual claims. It then detects matches with a curated repository of fact-checks published by professional fact-checkers and delivers the matches instantly to readers. It was used in January by Tech & Check Cooperative to fact-check President Trump's State of the Union address live.

Dr. Li says plans for ClaimBuster's evolution include automatically checking new claims against knowledge databases, as well as providing tools for outside users to vet claims that require human connections.

"Currently, ClaimBuster pays a lot of attention to one step in the process of fact-checking—identifying factual claims that are worth checking," he explains. "With the new grant, we will expand our effort to many components in the end-to-end system, and they will work in tandem."

Illustration by Jens Bonnke

More articles from this issue

UT Arlington - Office of Research