Just Because It's Trending Doesn't Mean It's True
Hoax Alert

Rise Of The Machines: Twitter Bot Debunks Fake News Generated By Another One

  • by: Maarten Schenk
  • (Thu, 24 Aug 2017 19:23:03 Z)

OK, we give up. We thought that we here at Lead Stories were clever with our Trendolizer engine to quickly find emerging fake news stories to debunk. But we must admit we've been beaten. Some bright person came up with the genius idea to have a Twitter bot automatically generate fake news by slapping random conspiracy phrases together into more or less grammatical sentences in combination with some fake-news related hashtags. In addition the bot automatically generates "meme" images to go with the tweet by taking the text and superimposing it onto some vaguely related background image.

The result: @TruthPatroller, a bot spewing vaguely plausible conspiracy news on Twitter. But the brilliant part is its twin, @FakePatroller, which immediately debunks the claims with a reply tweet by adding an extra word in front of the text, swapping some hashtags and slapping a big "FAKE" label over the image.

This is taking automated fake news hunting to the next level. Hat tip to the creator: we're impressed!

About the author:

Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

About Lead Stories

Lead Stories uses the Trendolizer™ engine to detect the most trending stories from known fake news, satire and prank websites and tries to debunk them as fast as possible. Read more about how we work and how we select stories to check here.

Spotted a hoax that you think we should investigate? Have a tip? Want to send us a correction? Contact us!

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