The Role of Context in Detecting Previously Fact-Checked Claims

by   Shaden Shaar, et al.

Recent years have seen the proliferation of disinformation and misinformation online, thanks to the freedom of expression on the Internet and to the rise of social media. Two solutions were proposed to address the problem: (i) manual fact-checking, which is accurate and credible, but slow and non-scalable, and (ii) automatic fact-checking, which is fast and scalable, but lacks explainability and credibility. With the accumulation of enough manually fact-checked claims, a middle-ground approach has emerged: checking whether a given claim has previously been fact-checked. This can be made automatically, and thus fast, while also offering credibility and explainability, thanks to the human fact-checking and explanations in the associated fact-checking article. This is a relatively new and understudied research direction, and here we focus on claims made in a political debate, where context really matters. Thus, we study the impact of modeling the context of the claim: both on the source side, i.e., in the debate, as well as on the target side, i.e., in the fact-checking explanation document. We do this by modeling the local context, the global context, as well as by means of co-reference resolution, and reasoning over the target text using Transformer-XH. The experimental results show that each of these represents a valuable information source, but that modeling the source-side context is more important, and can yield 10+ points of absolute improvement.


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