Anti-fake news start-up raises US$750,000

Anti-fake news start-up raises US$750,000

Factmata, a London start-up building artificial intelligence to tackle fake news, has raised US$750,000 in a seed funding round led by Mark Cuban.

The round also includes major angel investors such as Zynga founder Mark Pincus, Ross Mason, the founder of enterprise software company MuleSoft, and Sunil Paul, founder of anti-email spam software company Brightmail.

The start-up previously raised a €50,000 grant from Google’s Digital News initiative to build a prototype of its product, which helps citizens instantly fact check claims made on Twitter, Facebook and in news articles.

Factmata will use this latest investment to continue building a full-scale platform which uses artificial intelligence to help readers uncover additional context, score information for quality, debate content validity and more. This will ultimately enable people to identify fake stories and misinformation on the web.

With a model reminiscent of Wikipedia or Quora, Factmata will enable user fact-checking at scale. Artificial intelligence will also be embedded in the platform to help readers make informed decisions, drawing together data from across multiple networks, databases and communities to offer accurate insight.

Factmata was founded eight months ago by three natural language processing researchers, Sebastian Riedel, Andreas Vlachos and Dhruv Ghulati. Since then, the company has expanded its team to include Robert Stojnic as CTO. Prior to Factmata, Stojnic was a core developer at Wikipedia between 2006 and 2010, where he designed, implemented and maintained its search function.

Dhruv Ghulati, CEO and co-founder, said: “Because of an influx of misleading information on the web, trust in the validity of online news is at an all-time low. We want to help restore that trust. Through our platform, we want to ensure that original sources and hard research are disseminated to people in real time so that they can form reasoned opinions. Artificial intelligence makes this possible.”

Speaking about his decision to invest in the startup, Mark Cuban added: “I was impressed by the team’s pedigree, technical talent, and sheer drive to solve this problem. If we want to solve fake news, thinking about it at web scale via artificial intelligence and automation is the only way. And being outside the media or fact checking world allows them to see the problem in a different way. Factmata is a group of entrepreneurs trying to solve a challenging problem with an amazing mission."

As well as securing funding from some of the most renowned angel investors, Factmata has already started talks with a number of global media outlets interested in its services, as well as publishing platforms, advertising networks, PR agencies, and private businesses.