Facebook has been trying for years to gain a foothold in the news industry, and last year, the company launched a dedicated news section on its website called Facebook News, for users in the United States. It also wants to expand this program to include other countries, such as Brazil, Germany, and India.
But this isn’t the only project the social network is working on in the news arena. According to a BuzzFeed News report, Facebook is currently testing a new Artificial Intelligence-based tool called TL; DR – a term referring to news that is not read due to its length. The tool aims to summarize the news and to relieve readers from the trouble of reading long news.
The report indicated that the company recently demonstrated this tool at an internal meeting. It also plans to add features such as voice narration and an assistant to answer article queries.
And at first, this sounds like a great idea because it gives readers a short summary of an article they don’t have time to read. However, there are already some similar tools, like the AutoTLDR bot, on Reddit.
And given Facebook’s history full of news and publishers, to expect some errors in the news summary. At best, the Artificial Intelligence may make mistakes in analyzing the article’s content and then select problematic portions of the content based on its training algorithms. At worst, there is potential for generating and spreading misinformation.
Facebook will also need to train its algorithm to avoid taking out-of-context quotes or sentences from articles. An abstract that appears not to be problematic can conflict with the article or topic, and vice versa.
Researchers have successfully deceived Artificial Intelligence systems designed to detect offensive comments online with positive words in the past. And if the people behind the ads hack Facebook’s article summarization algorithm, they can write the stories in a way that includes the messages they want to spread.
Several reports pointed to the social network’s massive misinformation problem, many of which were due to poorly designed programs. While Facebook’s TL; DR tool has not yet been launched to the public, it appears that it may draw criticism from the company.