Preslav Nakov (Qatar Computing Research Institute) “Flattening the Curve of the COVID-19 Infodemic”
The World Health Organization acknowledged that “The 2019-nCoV outbreak and response has been accompanied by a massive ‘infodemic’ … that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it”. We will discuss the tools developed at QCRI to provide support towards addressing this problem and information manipulation in general in the context of social media and traditional media outlets.
We will present the Tanbih news aggregator (http://www.tanbih.org/), which aims to limit the effect of “fake news”, propaganda and media bias by making users aware of what they are reading. The project’s primary aim is to promote media literacy and critical thinking, which are arguably the best way to address disinformation and “fake news” in the long run. In particular, we develop media profiles that show the general factuality of reporting, the degree of propagandistic content, hyper-partisanship, leading political ideology, general frame of reporting, stance with respect to various claims and topics, as well as audience reach and audience bias in social media. We further offer explainability by automatically detecting and highlighting the instances of use of specific propaganda techniques in the news (https://www.tanbih.org/propaganda). We will demonstrate how the techniques and the tools developed in Tanbih can help in the fight against COVID-19 disinformation.
Finally, we will share a call for action and our latest research on performing fine-grained analysis of COVID-19 social media posts that combines the perspectives and the interests of journalists, fact-checkers, social media platforms, policy makers, and the society as a whole.
Dr. Preslav Nakov is a Principal Scientist at the Qatar Computing Research Institute, HBKU. His research interests include computational linguistics and natural language processing (for English, Arabic, Chinese, Malay/Indonesian, Bulgarian and other languages), disinformation, propaganda, fake news and bias detection, fact-checking, machine translation, question answering, sentiment analysis, lexical semantics, Web as a corpus, and biomedical text processing.
He is the PI of the QCRI mega-project Tanbih (2018-present; http://tanbih.qcri.org/), which aims to limit the effect of “fake news”, propaganda and media bias by making users aware of what they are reading; this is integrated in a news aggregator (http://www.tanbih.org/). He is also the lead-PI of a QCRI-MIT collaboration project on Arabic Speech and Language Processing for Cross-Language Information Search and Fact Verification (co-PI, 2016-2018; Lead-PI, 2018-present), and he was a co-PI of another QCRI-MIT collaboration project on Speech and Language Processing for Arabic (2013-2016).
Preslav Nakov received a PhD degree in Computer Science from the University of California at Berkeley (supported by a Fulbright grant and a UC Berkeley fellowship), and an MSc degree from the Sofia University. He was a Research Fellow at the National University of Singapore (2008-2011), an honorary lecturer in the Sofia University (2008, 2014-present), research staff at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (2008), and a visiting researcher at the University of Southern California, Information Sciences Institute (2005).
Preslav Nakov co-authored a Morgan & Claypool book on Semantic Relations between Nominals, two books on computer algorithms, and many research papers in top-tier conferences and journals. He received the Young Researcher Award at RANLP’2011. He was also the first to receive the Bulgarian President’s John Atanasoff award, named after the inventor of the first automatic electronic digital computer.
Preslav Nakov is President of ACL SIGLEX, the Special Interest Group (SIG) on the Lexicon of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL). He is also Secretary of SIGSLAV, the ACL SIG on Slavic Natural Language Processing. He also serves on the advisory board of EACL. He is an Action Editor of the Computational Linguistics journal, the Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics (TACL) journal, a Member of the Editorial Board of Computer Speech and Language (CSL), a Member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Natural Language Engineering (NLE), an Associate Editor of Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence journal (Language and Computation Section), an Associate Editor of the AI Communications journal, and Editorial Board member of the Language Science Press Book Series on Phraseology and Multiword Expressions. He served on the program committees of the major conferences and workshops in Computational Linguistics, including as a co-organizer and as an PC chair/SAC/area/publication/ tutorial/shared task chair, Senior PC member, student faculty advisor, etc.; he co-chaired SemEval 2014-2016 and was a PC chair of TTO, (senior) area chair of AAAI, ACL, EMNLP, NAACL-HLT, and *SEM, a shared task co-chair of IJCNLP, a tutorial co-chair of ACL, and a workshop co-chair of COLING.
Preslav Nakov’s research is featured in 100+ news outlets, including Forbes, Boston Globe, Aljazeera, MIT Technology Review, Science Daily, Popular Science, Fast Company, The Register, WIRED, and Engadget, among others.