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Transforming Fake News: Robust Generalisable News Classification Using Transformers

Blackledge, Ciara and Atapour-Abarghouei, Amir (2021) 'Transforming Fake News: Robust Generalisable News Classification Using Transformers.', 2021 IEEE International Conference on Big Data (IEEE BigData 2021)


As online news has become increasingly popular and fake news increasingly prevalent, the ability to audit the veracity of online news content has become more important than ever. Such a task represents a binary classification challenge, for which transformers have achieved state-of-the-art results. Using the publicly available ISOT and Combined Corpus datasets, this study explores transformers’ abilities to identify fake news, with particular attention given to investigating generalisation to unseen datasets with varying styles, topics and class distributions. Moreover, we explore the idea that opinion-based news articles cannot be classified as real or fake due to their subjective nature and often sensationalised language, and propose a novel two-step classification pipeline to remove such articles from both model training and the final deployed inference system. Experiments over the ISOT and Combined Corpus datasets show that transformers achieve an increase in F1 scores of up to 4.9% for out of distribution generalisation compared to baseline approaches, with a further increase of 10.1% following the implementation of our two-step classification pipeline. To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first to investigate generalisation of transformers in this context.

Item Type:Conference item (Paper)
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:© 2021 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. Permission from IEEE must be obtained for all other uses, in any current or future media, including reprinting/republishing this material for advertising or promotional purposes, creating new collective works, for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or reuse of any copyrighted component of this work in other works.
Date accepted:10 November 2021
Date deposited:03 December 2021
Date of first online publication:2021
Date first made open access:03 December 2021

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