Existing datasets for automated fact-checking have substantial limitations, such as relying on artificial claims, lacking annotations for evidence and intermediate reasoning, or including evidence published after the claim. In this paper we introduce AVeriTeC, a new dataset of 4,568 real-world claims covering fact-checks by 50 different organizations. Each claim is annotated with question-answer pairs supported by evidence available online, as well as textual justifications explaining how the evidence combines to produce a verdict. Through a multi-round annotation process, we avoid common pitfalls including context dependence, evidence insufficiency, and temporal leakage, and reach a substantial inter-annotator agreement of $\kappa=0.619$ on verdicts. We develop a baseline as well as an evaluation scheme for verifying claims through several question-answering steps against the open web.
Automated fact-checking is often presented as an epistemic tool that fact-checkers, social media consumers, and other stakeholders can use to fight misinformation. Nevertheless, few papers thoroughly discuss how. We document this by analysing 100 highly-cited papers, and annotating epistemic elements related to intended use, i.e., means, ends, and stakeholders. We find that narratives leaving out some of these aspects are common, that many papers propose inconsistent means and ends, and that the feasibility of suggested strategies rarely has empirical backing. We argue that this vagueness actively hinders the technology from reaching its goals, as it encourages overclaiming, limits criticism, and prevents stakeholder feedback. Accordingly, we provide several recommendations for thinking and writing about the use of fact-checking artefacts.
Fact-checking has become increasingly important due to the speed with which both information and misinformation can spread in the modern media ecosystem. Therefore, researchers have been exploring how fact-checking can be automated, using techniques based on natural language processing, machine learning, knowledge representation, and databases to automatically predict the veracity of claims. In this paper, we survey automated fact-checking stemming from natural language processing, and discuss its connections to related tasks and disciplines. In this process, we present an overview of existing datasets and models, aiming to unify the various definitions given and identify common concepts. Finally, we highlight challenges for future research.
Fact verification has attracted a lot of attention in the machine learning and natural language processing communities, as it is one of the key methods for detecting misinformation. Existing large-scale benchmarks for this task have focused mostly on textual sources, i.e. unstructured information, and thus ignored the wealth of information available in structured formats, such as tables. In this paper we introduce a novel dataset and benchmark, Fact Extraction and VERification Over Unstructured and Structured information (FEVEROUS), which consists of 87,026 verified claims. Each claim is annotated with evidence in the form of sentences and/or cells from tables in Wikipedia, as well as a label indicating whether this evidence supports, refutes, or does not provide enough information to reach a verdict. Furthermore, we detail our efforts to track and minimize the biases present in the dataset and could be exploited by models, e.g. being able to predict the label without using evidence. Finally, we develop a baseline for verifying claims against text and tables which predicts both the correct evidence and verdict for 18% of the claims.
We review the EfficientQA competition from NeurIPS 2020. The competition focused on open-domain question answering (QA), where systems take natural language questions as input and return natural language answers. The aim of the competition was to build systems that can predict correct answers while also satisfying strict on-disk memory budgets. These memory budgets were designed to encourage contestants to explore the trade-off between storing large, redundant, retrieval corpora or the parameters of large learned models. In this report, we describe the motivation and organization of the competition, review the best submissions, and analyze system predictions to inform a discussion of evaluation for open-domain QA.
Structured information is an important knowledge source for automatic verification of factual claims. Nevertheless, the majority of existing research into this task has focused on textual data, and the few recent inquiries into structured data have been for the closed-domain setting where appropriate evidence for each claim is assumed to have already been retrieved. In this paper, we investigate verification over structured data in the open-domain setting, introducing a joint reranking-and-verification model which fuses evidence documents in the verification component. Our open-domain model achieves performance comparable to the closed-domain state-of-the-art on the TabFact dataset, and demonstrates performance gains from the inclusion of multiple tables as well as a significant improvement over a heuristic retrieval baseline.
We study open-domain question answering (ODQA) with structured, unstructured and semi-structured knowledge sources, including text, tables, lists, and knowledge bases. Our approach homogenizes all sources by reducing them to text, and applies recent, powerful retriever-reader models which have so far been limited to text sources only. We show that knowledge-base QA can be greatly improved when reformulated in this way. Contrary to previous work, we find that combining sources always helps, even for datasets which target a single source by construction. As a result, our unified model produces state-of-the-art results on 3 popular ODQA benchmarks.
Attribution methods assess the contribution of inputs (e.g., words) to the model prediction. One way to do so is erasure: a subset of inputs is considered irrelevant if it can be removed without affecting the model prediction. Despite its conceptual simplicity, erasure is not commonly used in practice. First, the objective is generally intractable, and approximate search or leave-one-out estimates are typically used instead; both approximations may be inaccurate and remain very expensive with modern deep (e.g., BERT-based) NLP models. Second, the method is susceptible to the hindsight bias: the fact that a token can be dropped does not mean that the model `knows' it can be dropped. The resulting pruning is over-aggressive and does not reflect how the model arrives at the prediction. To deal with these two challenges, we introduce Differentiable Masking. DiffMask relies on learning sparse stochastic gates (i.e., masks) to completely mask-out subsets of the input while maintaining end-to-end differentiability. The decision to include or disregard an input token is made with a simple linear model based on intermediate hidden layers of the analyzed model. First, this makes the approach efficient at test time because we predict rather than search. Second, as with probing classifiers, this reveals what the network `knows' at the corresponding layers. This lets us not only plot attribution heatmaps but also analyze how decisions are formed across network layers. We use DiffMask to study BERT models on sentiment classification and question answering.
Knowledge graphs enable a wide variety of applications, including question answering and information retrieval. Despite the great effort invested in their creation and maintenance, even the largest (e.g., Yago, DBPedia or Wikidata) remain incomplete. We introduce Relational Graph Convolutional Networks (R-GCNs) and apply them to two standard knowledge base completion tasks: Link prediction (recovery of missing facts, i.e. subject-predicate-object triples) and entity classification (recovery of missing entity attributes). R-GCNs are related to a recent class of neural networks operating on graphs, and are developed specifically to deal with the highly multi-relational data characteristic of realistic knowledge bases. We demonstrate the effectiveness of R-GCNs as a stand-alone model for entity classification. We further show that factorization models for link prediction such as DistMult can be significantly improved by enriching them with an encoder model to accumulate evidence over multiple inference steps in the relational graph, demonstrating a large improvement of 29.8% on FB15k-237 over a decoder-only baseline.