Posted on September 11, 2017 by staff

AI start-up tackling fake news raises $750k


An artificial intelligence start-up which targets fake news has raised $750,000 (£569,000) in seed funding.

London start-up Factmata will use the money from notable angel investors to continue building a full-scale platform which uses AI to instantly fact check claims made on Twitter, Facebook and in news articles.

It helps people uncover additional context, score information for quality and debate content validity.

The round was led by American businessman Mark Cuban, owner of NBA franchise Dallas Mavericks, with money also put in by Zynga founder Mark Pincus, MuleSoft founder Ross Mason and Sunil Paul, founder of anti-email spam software company Brightmail.

“Because of an influx of misleading information on the web, trust in the validity of online news is at an all-time low. We want to help restore that trust,” said Dhruv Ghulati, CEO and co-founder of Factmata.

“Through our platform, we want to ensure that original sources and hard research are disseminated to people in real time so that they can form reasoned opinions.

“Artificial intelligence makes this possible.”

Speaking about his decision to invest in the start-up, Mark Cuban said: “I was impressed by the team’s pedigree, technical talent, and sheer drive to solve this problem.

“If we want to solve fake news, thinking about it at web scale via artificial intelligence and automation is the only way. And being outside the media or fact checking world allows them to see the problem in a different way.

“Factmata is a group of entrepreneurs trying to solve a challenging problem with an amazing mission.”

The start-up previously raised a €50,000 grant from Google’s Digital News initiative to build a prototype of its product. It says its model is reminiscent of Wikipedia or Quora, enabling user fact-checking at scale.

Factmata was founded eight months ago by natural language processing researchers Ghulati, Sebastian Riedel and Andreas Vlachos.

Robert Stojnic, a core developer at Wikipedia between 2006 and 2010 – where he designed, implemented and maintained its search function – has since joined as CTO.

Factmata says it has started talks with a number of global media outlets interested in its services, as well as publishing platforms, advertising networks, PR agencies and private businesses.