×

Twitter Buys Artificial-Intelligence Startup to Help Fight Spam, Fake News and Other Abuse

Twitter, as part of ongoing efforts to improve the “health” of discussions on the platform, announced that it has acquired U.K.-based artificial-intelligence startup Fabula AI.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. The initial focus for Fabula as part of Twitter “will be to improve the health of the conversation, with expanding applications to stop spam and abuse and other strategic priorities in the future,” according to Twitter chief technology officer Parag Agrawal, who announced the acquisition in a blog post Monday.

Fabula has developed the ability to analyze “very large and complex data sets” to detect network manipulation and can identify patterns that other machine-learning techniques can’t, according to Agrawal. The startup has created a “truth-risk scoring platform” to identify misinformation, using data from sources including Snopes and PolitiFact.

Twitter, in addition to improving detection of spam and other violations of its policies, plans to use Fabula’s technology to enhance products, including the timeline, recommendations and the explore tab, as well as the process for how users sign up for the service. Spam and bogus accounts continue to be a big problem for the social platform. According to Twitter’s estimates, in the first quarter of 2019, fake and/or spam accounts represented fewer than 5% of its active user base.

Fabula’s team will join the Twitter Cortex machine-learning team. Twitter said it has created a research group led by Sandeep Pandey, head of machine learning/AI engineering, to focus on such areas as natural-language processing, reinforcement learning, machine-learning ethics, recommendation systems, and graph deep learning.

Popular on Variety

Founded in April 2018, Fabula is led chief scientist Michael Bronstein and chief technologist Federico Monti, who began collaborating together while at Switzerland’s University of Lugano. Bronstein is currently the chair in machine learning and pattern recognition at Imperial College London and will remain in that position while leading graph deep learning research at Twitter.

Twitter in the past has acquired other AI startups, including image-search specialist Madbits in 2014, machine-learning configuration developer Whetlab in 2015 and visual-processing startup Magic Pony in 2016.

More Digital

  • UFC 246 - McGregor vs Cerrone

    UFC Inks Facebook Pact for Exclusive Content to Push Pay-Per-View Fights (EXCLUSIVE)

    UFC has upped its investment in original content for Facebook — where it has more than 26 million global followers — to try to convert more mixed martial arts fans into premium pay-per-view buyers. Under the one-year deal between UFC and Facebook, the MMA promoter is producing three original shows for Facebook Watch. All of [...]

  • Peacock Launch: NBCUniversal Tries New Way

    Peacock Launch: NBCUniversal Tries New Way to Deliver Old-Fashioned Bundle of TV

    In the big unveiling Thursday on the “Saturday Night Live” stage at 30 Rock, NBCUniversal leaders described Peacock as a 21st century iteration of a broadcast network. For sure, the Comcast answer to the streaming wars is taking a broadcasters’ approach to programming and distributing the service that Comcast hopes might eventually represent the next [...]

  • Sorry for Your Loss - Elizabeth

    'Limetown,' 'Sorry For Your Loss' Canceled at Facebook Watch

    Facebook Watch has canceled two of its shows amid a scaling back of its scripted content. Both “Limetown” and “Sorry For Your Loss” have been canceled after their first and second seasons respectively, Variety has confirmed. Based on the podcast of the same name produced by Two Up, “Limetown” followed Lia Haddock (Jessica Biel), a journalist [...]

  • NBCU Peacock

    NBCU's Peacock Pricing and Launch Dates Announced

    Peacock will unfold its tail feathers this spring for Comcast customers — and will launch widely across the U.S. this summer. The streaming service from Comcast and NBCUniversal will be available April 15 in an early version for Comcast’s Xfinity TV and broadband-only customers. It will debut nationally July 15, including a free, ad-supported version [...]

  • Universal Music Japan Hires Spotify Exec

    Universal Music Japan Hires Former Spotify Exec Ichiro Tamaki

    Universal Music Japan announced today that Ichiro Tamaki has been named as Corporate Executive responsible for Digital Strategy, data analytics and platform partnerships, effective February 15. According to the announcement, as a core member of Universal Music Japan’s executive team, he will oversee the Data & Analytics and Platform Partnerships teams, and will be responsible [...]

  • netflix debt

    Netflix Projected to Spend More Than $17 Billion on Content in 2020

    Netflix is keeping its foot pressed firmly on the gas pedal in the streaming-video road race. The streamer will invest around $17.3 billion this year in content on a cash basis, according to a new forecast by Wall Street firm BMO Capital Markets. That’s up from around $15.3 billion in 2019. And Netflix is not [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content