Towards News Verification: Deception Detection Methods for News Discourse

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Chen, Yimin; Rubin, Victoria L; Conroy, Niall
deception detection; news verification; truth identification; Computational Linguistics; Journalism Studies; Library and Information Science; Linguistics; Mass Communication; Semantics and Pragmatics
lecture / presentation description
News verification is a process of determining whether a particular news report is truthful or deceptive. Deliberately deceptive (fabricated) news creates false conclusions in the readers’ minds. Truthful (authentic) news matches the writer’s knowledge. How do you tell the difference between the two in an automated way? To investigate this question, we analyzed rhetorical structures, discourse constituent parts and their coherence relations in deceptive and truthful news sample from NPR’s “Bluff the Listener”. Subsequently, we applied a vector space model to cluster the news by discourse feature similarity, achieving 63% accuracy. Our predictive model is not significantly better than chance (56% accuracy), though comparable to average human lie detection abilities (54%). Methodological limitations and future improvements are discussed. The long-term goal is to uncover systematic language differences and inform the core methodology of the news verification system.