eyeo’s Investment in the UK-Based AI Startup Ensures the Further Development of Its News-Rating Extension “Trusted News”

eyeo GmbH, the company behind Adblock Plus, announced an investment and partnership with Factmata. As part of the investment, Factmata will take over further development of eyeo’s Trusted News browser extension. It will alert users to hate speech, racism, sexism, bias, sensationalism, one-sidedness or deceptiveness in news articles, using Factmata’s proprietary language-analysis algorithms. This investment furthers Factmata’s commitment to a quality media ecosystem.

The Trusted News extension was first released in beta in late 2018. The project was started by a small team of experts at eyeo who were driven to find a solution to the growing problem of fake news and hate speech online. When looking for a provider of filter data for such content, they found the ideal partner in Factmata.

Trusted News uses a simple approach: leaning on website blacklists from independent fact-checking organizations to generate its “fake news” ratings. Content based on facts and backed by primary sources is rated as trustworthy. If content contains politically-biased views that are not backed by facts or contains heavy elements of humor or exaggeration, it is rated as biased or satire. Misleading or false headlines for the purpose of enticing readers to visit a website purely for traffic or revenue are labeled as clickbait. Content that deliberately delivers threats to your computer or personal safety is marked as malicious.

“Just as eyeo and Adblock Plus are protecting users from harmful, annoying ads, the partnership between Factmata and Trusted News gets us one step closer to a safer, more transparent internet. Content that is harmful gets flagged automatically, giving users more control over what kind of content they trust and want to read.” said Till Faida, CEO & Co-Founder, eyeo.

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Factmata’s strategy with Trusted News is to involve a community in the process of critically thinking about online content, as well as to assist its users in the process of judging articles. To start with, this might include an integration of Factmata’s API to detect if a page’s content might be sexist, racist, threatening, or politically propagandist. Users should be able to agree or disagree with judgements, as well as add their own reasoned opinions to the system. Community monitoring systems will be put in place to ensure no obvious gaming or abuse of the system, as well as tracking what Factmata deems as the “relevance” of the user in assessing the content.

Using Factmata’s unique “expert in the loop” approach to training machine learning algorithms, Trusted News and Factmata will be in a unique position to build a reliable, trust-able rating system for any piece of online content using an advanced, scalable AI that becomes more representative of what the crowd thinks over time.

“Our goal is to build a fair, explainable, open approach to rating content online, and not judge something to be of low credibility just because we don’t agree with the views of the website. We believe there are reasonable bounded indicators of good quality, balanced, trustworthy journalism. With enough time and training data, a well-built AI should be able to automatically detect writing that strays from these bounds, whilst leaving the final evaluation and critical opinion to the reader,” says Co-Founder and CEO, Dhruv Ghulati.

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Factmata, started in 2017 by researchers Dhruv Ghulati, Sebastian Riedel, and Andreas Vlachos, was one of the first global companies to tackle fake news online. Factmata raised funding from major internet pioneers such as Mark Cuban, Craig Newmark, Sunil Paul and Biz Stone. Since then, it has developed AI software which can accurately score content for aspects like political bias, hate speech, racism, sexism, toxicity, obscenity, threats, insults, and clickbait. Other characteristics it has been developing in stealth include the detection of deceptive language, sensationalism, one-sidedness, other forms of identity hatred such as transphobia, bot-generated content, and potentially false claims and rumours.

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