Neema Kotonya


2020

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Explainable Automated Fact-Checking: A Survey
Neema Kotonya | Francesca Toni
Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

A number of exciting advances have been made in automated fact-checking thanks to increasingly larger datasets and more powerful systems, leading to improvements in the complexity of claims which can be accurately fact-checked. However, despite these advances, there are still desirable functionalities missing from the fact-checking pipeline. In this survey, we focus on the explanation functionality – that is fact-checking systems providing reasons for their predictions. We summarize existing methods for explaining the predictions of fact-checking systems and we explore trends in this topic. Further, we consider what makes for good explanations in this specific domain through a comparative analysis of existing fact-checking explanations against some desirable properties. Finally, we propose further research directions for generating fact-checking explanations, and describe how these may lead to improvements in the research area.

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Explainable Automated Fact-Checking for Public Health Claims
Neema Kotonya | Francesca Toni
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Fact-checking is the task of verifying the veracity of claims by assessing their assertions against credible evidence. The vast majority of fact-checking studies focus exclusively on political claims. Very little research explores fact-checking for other topics, specifically subject matters for which expertise is required. We present the first study of explainable fact-checking for claims which require specific expertise. For our case study we choose the setting of public health. To support this case study we construct a new dataset PUBHEALTH of 11.8K claims accompanied by journalist crafted, gold standard explanations (i.e., judgments) to support the fact-check labels for claims. We explore two tasks: veracity prediction and explanation generation. We also define and evaluate, with humans and computationally, three coherence properties of explanation quality. Our results indicate that, by training on in-domain data, gains can be made in explainable, automated fact-checking for claims which require specific expertise.

2019

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Gradual Argumentation Evaluation for Stance Aggregation in Automated Fake News Detection
Neema Kotonya | Francesca Toni
Proceedings of the 6th Workshop on Argument Mining

Stance detection plays a pivot role in fake news detection. The task involves determining the point of view or stance – for or against – a text takes towards a claim. One very important stage in employing stance detection for fake news detection is the aggregation of multiple stance labels from different text sources in order to compute a prediction for the veracity of a claim. Typically, aggregation is treated as a credibility-weighted average of stance predictions. In this work, we take the novel approach of applying, for aggregation, a gradual argumentation semantics to bipolar argumentation frameworks mined using stance detection. Our empirical evaluation shows that our method results in more accurate veracity predictions.