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Social networks can tackle fake news by leveraging the 'Crowd Wisdom' as professional grade fact checkers

With the pandemic on a roll along with the misinformation spreaders, all the platforms are out on a mission to wipe out all misinformation present on their spaces. However when there are fifty fact checkers across fifty million misinformation spreaders, it is definitely a tough job to get it done on time. According to a new study at MIT, there can now be fifty million fact checkers to combat the equal ratio of information spreaders.

This study focused on how the wisdom of the common crowd works when it comes to fact-checking. In conclusion, the study found that the accuracy of the common people is almost the same as that of highly trained fact checkers.

Now when we refer to the common crowd, we're definitely not talking about your everyday John. Instead, we're focusing on educated and aware users who keep up with the world. Yes, they are some qualified individuals but still not compatible with trained fact checkers. It turns out this study begs to differ since both of these groups hit the mark equally this time around and while one costs some pretty heavy bucks, the other costs only $0.90 per story.

MIT took into account the views of 1,128 individuals who were hired through a platform which enables users to get people to do odd jobs and gigs. Keeping this aside, MIT then asked these individuals to take a test for their political knowledge as well as one for tendency to think analytically. It was found that the users who scored well in these tests were more likely to correlate with the fact-checkers hence proving our point that not every person is capable of this task hence why we need fact-checkers. Moving on, it was found 10 out of 15 checkers got the same results as the pros so that's a pretty good ratio.

The participants were presented with 20 headlines and lead sentences from 207 articles. All of them were picked up from where Facebook had listed them to be checked for misinformation. These pieces were to be filtered for the presence of objectivity, truth, and unbiasedness along with a list of other similar qualities. These articles weren't all flagged for misinformation but also because some were receiving too many likes or some were about sensitive health issues.

When these were presented to three fact checkers as well, it was seen that not all of them always agreed. While all of them agreed on 49% of the cases, only 42% of the cases were consented by two of them while 9% cases had different opinions by all three. The researchers then broke the public into groups ranging from 12 to 20 and were divided according to their political parties before the assignment.

MIT researchers believe that putting that much burden on a few fact-checkers is where things start to go wrong. With the amount of misinformation being spread everyday, it is no wonder even half a million fact checkers would prove to be a low number. While these researchers do not claim any fast solutions to the checking of false information online, they simply aim to provide possible ways around.

Creator: sorbetto / Credit: Getty Images

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