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Factoring Fact-Checks: Structured Information Extraction from Fact-Checking Articles

Shan Jiang
Abe Ittycheriah
Cong Yu
Proceedings of the 2020 Web Conference (WWW 2020)
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Fact-checking, which investigates claims made in public to arrive at a verdict supported by evidence and logical reasoning, has long been a significant form of journalism to combat misinformation in the news ecosystem. Most of the fact-checks share common structured information (called factors) such as claim, claimant, and verdict. In recent years, the emergence of ClaimReview as the standard schema for annotating those factors within fact-checking articles has led to wide adoption of fact-checking features by online platforms (e.g., Google, Bing). However, annotating fact-checks is a tedious process for fact-checkers and distracts them from their core job of investigating claims. As a result, less than half of the fact-checkers worldwide have adopted ClaimReview as of mid-2019. In this paper, we propose the task of factoring fact-checks for automatically extracting structured information from fact-checking articles. Exploring a public dataset of fact-checks, we empirically show that factoring fact-checks is a challenging task, especially for fact-checkers that are under-represented in the existing dataset. We then formulate the task as a sequence tagging problem and fine-tune the pre-trained BERT models with a modification made from our observations to approach the problem. Through extensive experiments, we demonstrate the performance of our models for well-known fact-checkers and promising initial results for under-represented fact-checkers.