Crowdsourced Fact-checking: Does It Actually Work?


There is an important ongoing effort aimed to tackle misinformation and to perform reliable fact-checking by employing human assessors at scale, with a crowdsourcing-based approach. Previous studies on the feasibility of employing crowdsourcing for the task of misinformation detection have provided inconsistent results: some of them seem to confirm the effectiveness of crowdsourcing for assessing the truthfulness of statements and claims, whereas others fail to reach an effectiveness level higher than automatic machine learning approaches, which are still unsatisfactory. In this paper, we aim at addressing such inconsistency and understand if truthfulness assessment can indeed be crowdsourced effectively. To do so, we build on top of previous studies; we select some of those reporting low effectiveness levels, we highlight their potential limitations, and we then reproduce their work attempting to improve their setup to address those limitations. We employ various approaches, data quality levels, and agreement measures to assess the reliability of crowd workers when assessing the truthfulness of (mis)information. Furthermore, we explore different worker features and compare the results obtained with different crowds. According to our findings, crowdsourcing can be used as an effective methodology to tackle misinformation at scale. When compared to previous studies, our results indicate that a significantly higher agreement between crowd workers and experts can be obtained by using a different, higher-quality, crowdsourcing platform and by improving the design of the crowdsourcing task. Also, we find differences concerning task and worker features and how workers provide truthfulness assessments.

Information Processing & Management. Journal Ranks: Journal Citation Reports (JCR) Q1 (2023), Scimago (SJR) Q1 (2023).