Two Danish startups fight false news using artificial intelligence

The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism reported in January 2020 that less than four in ten people trust most news most of the time. Only 38% of more than 80,000 people surveyed in 40 countries trusted most news, a fall of four percentage points from 2019[1].

False news is an increasing global “infodemic”. Content that arouses greater fear, disgust, and surprise compels individuals to share farther, faster, and deeper. When falsehoods are 70% more likely to be retweeted than the truth[2], it may seem futile to preserve a news ecosystem that values and promotes accuracy.

That’s why it’s so exciting that artificial intelligence paired with a media marketplace could save us from our own humanity.

Two Danish growth startups, Abzu and Byrd, have joined forces to use artificial intelligence to fight false news. Byrd, a leading content platform that connects media outlets with photographers and videographers in real time, and Abzu, an artificial intelligence startup with a pioneering, explainable machine learning technology, have built a solution that that automatically detects, and flags, falsified content in breaking news.

Each story and corresponding media on Byrd’s platform undergo a machine learning verification process that captures the majority of false stories, even as news breaks. Content is rated with a probability score of trustworthiness. The transparent and explainable graph-based models from Abzu allow Byrd to precisely understand what inputs have been used to determine if content has been falsified. If the artificial intelligence is uncertain, Byrd manually verifies content.

Mikkel Reymann Stephensen, co-founder of Byrd, says, “Our photographers are a crucial source of information, and we need to identify anyone trying to bring distrust into the media flow. Through our partnership with Abzu, we have been able to identify the majority of falsified news and also understand the reasons why stories are being falsified. It has given us another tool to fight fake news — and this tool applies itself.”

It’s vital for media networks to ensure stories are true and trustworthy. Mortal extremes exacerbate our consumption of and attitude towards news media, and we don’t need another crisis or election to remind us how susceptible we are to conspiracies and misinformation.

Abzu and Byrd see a future where journalists and the news media can identify the trustworthiness of content with conviction and can navigate the news ecosystem to a more transparent and trustworthy place.

About Abzu

Abzu® was born from the desire to challenge the fundamental assumptions of contemporary, black-box AI. Abzu’s pioneering technology, the QLattice®, is a research engine that accelerates exploration, enabling scientists to bring drugs to market faster. Founded in January 2018, Abzu is a deep tech startup with offices in Copenhagen, Denmark and Barcelona, Spain.

About Byrd

Byrd is a leading content platform that connects media outlets with photographers and videographers in real time. Byrd’s platform makes it easy, enticing, and worthwhile for anyone to help media cover the news. The subscription-based marketplace is designed for journalists and news outlets to access high-quality media anytime and anywhere.

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