Facebook acquires Bloomsbury AI team to automate the fight against fake news

It is possible the new talent pool could be used to help tackle the spread of fake news.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

Facebook has announced the acquisition of Bloomsbury AI in a bid to improve the firm's natural language processing capabilities.

London-based Bloomsbury AI's engineers will join the Facebook team in order to grow the social media giant's artificial intelligence (AI) presence in the city, as well as "strengthen Facebook's efforts in natural language processing research," according to the company.

Financial details were not disclosed; however, TechCrunch reports the acquisition may be worth between $25 and $30 million.

Bloomsbury AI's mission is to resolve the language barrier between natural speech and machines. Natural speech can be difficult for AI and machine learning systems to understand and even with databases and search functions, reliable and efficient responses can be problematic -- which is holding back the industry at large.

In order to tackle this challenge, Bloomsbury AI has developed an artificial intelligence system, called Cape, which reads documents and answers questions relating to the content.

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This AI is considered to be a springboard for other applications which would be able to analyze content and answer questions in a way which requires "elements of reading and synthesis," according to the team, which could be a very useful system in automatically monitoring content on Facebook to ascertain its legitimacy.

Investors include UCL Technology Fund, Fly Ventures, Entrepreneur First, and IQ Capital.

See also: How Facebook scales AI

According to an announcement earlier this week, the deal will give Facebook a boost in understanding natural language and its applications, and tools developed through this research may be used to tackle the rising spread of disinformation, fake news, and terrorism-related content.

"The Bloomsbury team has built a leading expertise in machine reading and understanding unstructured documents in natural language in order to answer any question," Facebook says. "We look forward to welcoming them to Facebook and we can't wait to see what we build together."

The acquisition makes sense and Bloomsbury AI may lend a helping hand to the social network's issues with monitoring and the regulation of fake news and banned content.

The company's human operators can only handle so much, and Facebook already relies heavily on AI and machine learnings to tackle a vast array of workloads.

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