Can Ordinary Users Effectively Fact Check Fake News in Real Time?

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Misinformation spreads rapidly on social media before professional fact-checkers and media outlets have a chance to debunk false claims. Social media companies, such as Facebook and Twitter, have suggested using ordinary users to assess the veracity of news articles.

But ordinary users — and machine learning models based on information from those users — cannot effectively identify false and misleading news in real time, compared to professional fact-checkers, according to a new paper from New York University’s Center for Social Media and Politics (CSMaP), published in the inaugural issue of the Journal of Online Trust and Safety.

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