The social media giant Facebook is buying the UK-based AI (Artificial Intelligence) company Bloomsbury to help it curb fake news and misinformation on its platform. Bloomsbury’s natural language processing tech will help Facebook understand how users use language.
Facebook is making the acquisition to fight fake news
Bloomsbury AI allows users to create their own question-answering system easily, and Facebook hopes it will help it understand how speech can be used to improve the experience of its users.
Bloomsbury, which develops NLP (natural language processing), is working on a technology dubbed “Cape” that uses AI to understand text in documents and give answers to questions with the help of the documents themselves.
According to a report by news site TechCrunch, the social network is set to buy UK-based start-up Bloomsbury AI for about $30 million (£23 million). The report said that the tech company is purchasing the London-based start-up to assist in identifying and tackling fake news stories. Even though the social network has not yet revealed the reason behind the acquisition, there is a high probability that TechCrunch is right about the “combating fake news” part because the co-founder of Bloomsbury AI, Sebastian Riedel, also founded a company, called Factmata, which develops tools to help identify fake news stories.
This is what Facebook has to say about the acquisition
Facebook is continuing to face content issues, including misinformation, hate speech, fake news, and, recently, inappropriate use of the Facebook live stream. In recent months, the company has strengthened its security and safety settings through problem-spotting AI and inclusion of more human editors.
Amid concerns about abuse and election meddling on the platform, the social media giant has expanded its fact-checking resources, especially in view of elections in different countries. The recent acquisition of the AI startup indicates that Facebook is ready to accept the technology and knowledge of other companies to combat its content problem.
Facebook Research stated that “The Bloomsbury team has built a leading expertise in machine reading and understanding unstructured documents in natural language in order to answer any question. Their expertise will strengthen Facebook’s efforts in natural language processing research, and help us further understand natural language and its applications.”
Will this new acquisition help the social network? We will find out in a few months.