Are you be able to spot fake news? Can you even define what fake news is? According to Jack Grieve, ‘fake news’ is deceptive, it is intentionally trying to misinform its audience. Fake news is not the same as news that is untrue or false. But what exactly makes news fake? Are there any linguistic clues? Anything that gives away the intention to deceive? Can linguistic methods help us to find out? Surely there is lots of fake news out there that can serve as a data set for computational analysis? But not so fast! A key challenge is to find ‘real’ news that you can usefully compare to fake news in order to see what the difference is. Listen to Jack Grieve explain his linguistic methodology for such a comparison. Hear about an intriguing case study that looks at a journalist who used to work for the New York Times. This journalist, Jason Blair, would sometimes produce real and fake news on the same day! Now, that’s an exciting data set for linguists to work with!
Jack Grieve is a Professor of Corpus Linguistics at the University of Birmingham. His research focuses on the quantitative analysis of language variation and change. He also conducts applied research in authorship analysis. Together with Helena Woodfield he has written the book The Language of Fake News.