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University of Michigan School of Information


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Web-based tool WiseDex combats the spread of misinformation online

Tuesday, 07/26/2022

A new tool called WiseDex, led by University of Michigan School of Information and the Center for Social Media Responsibility, is being launched to help social media platforms flag misinformation faster and with more accuracy. 

Viral posts on social media platforms can reach millions of people. The trustworthiness of these musings can be sketchy, leading to the spread of misinformation. 

There are policies to combat misinformation, including putting warning labels on misleading statements or even the removal of harmful posts. Flagging questionable posts and having humans painstakingly judge the level of accuracy is time-consuming and spotty. Platforms end up missing a lot of harmful content, especially if posts are in languages other than English.

WiseDex harnesses the wisdom of crowds and AI techniques to help flag more posts. The tool uses a process where keywords associated with misinformation claims are surfaced, and these words are translated into different languages. 

Trust and safety teams can then use those keywords to automatically flag matching posts for human review. For each claim, a browser plug-in allows reviewers to add a label denoting misinformation. The result is more comprehensive, equitable, and consistent enforcement that can significantly reduce the spread of misinformation. 

WiseDex project is a joint venture led by University of Michigan School of Information and the Center for Social Media Responsibility and collaborators from the University of Washington, MIT, and Trust Lab.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Convergence Accelerator, an NSF Directorate for the Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships program provided funding for WiseDex. On July 27-28 the team, including Paul Resnick, David Jurgens, and James Park, will present the project at the Convergence Accelerator Expo 2022, an event that attracts attendees from academia, industry, nonprofit, and government across dozens of countries.

Sarah Derouin, UMSI public relations specialist


Learn more about the University of Michigan Center for Social Media Responsibility.

Video descriptive transcript available here.