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Towards a Cross-Article Narrative Comparison of News

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In the world of public misinformation, there are many cases where the information is not false or fabricated, but rather has been manipulated using more subtle techniques such as word replacements, selection of details, omissions and argument distortion. These techniques can have the effect of influencing the reader’s frame of mind towards the events reported. We currently lack the necessary tools to uncover such manipulations automatically. In this position paper, we propose an integrated analysis framework and pipeline to identify various narrative signals in news articles; such as structural roles, framing, and subjectivity. By comparing these at the document level and sentence level, it will be possible to highlight differences of narrative techniques used to report the same news events.

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Towards a Cross-Article Narrative Comparison of News

  1. 1. Towards a Cross-article Narrative Comparison of News 14 April 2020 Martino Mensio, Harith Alani, Alistair Willis Text2Story 2020
  2. 2. Inside a News Article 2 Events • Facts Narrative • Storytelling and structure • Non-chronological order Framing • Selection of details • Word choices • Mix of facts and opinions
  3. 3. Example: beyond the facts 3 - Not everyone understands what lockdown means - Coronavirus Act left uncertainties - What are your rights? - Why have there been disagreements? - Possible actions from police? - Right to appeal? - Is there public consent for police powers? - Guidance delivers reasonable force to police - Examples of police actions - Flexible guidance - Other examples What are your rights in coronavirus lockdown Britain? Lockdown police are told they can use force on CHILDREN who go outside - and fine parents £60 for failing to stop them https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/01/what-are-your-rights-in- lockdown-britain-coronavirus https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8177697/Police-use-reasonable- force-children-suspected-flouting-coronavirus-lockdown-rules.html - Loaded language - Appeal to emotions - Neutral language - “Know your rights”
  4. 4. The need for cross-article analysis Research Questions: • How can we develop tools to reveal the framing and narrative differences? • Which cross-article signals can we define to express the differences? 4
  5. 5. Two disjoint areas of research 5 + Document clustering (e.g., news aggregators) + Corroboration and omissions of information (Bountouridiset al.) + Plagiarism detection + Structural role (Zahid et al.) + Semantic frames (Fillmore) + Subjectivity - Analysis of differences is left to the reader - One article at a time Document relationships Narrative and framing analysis Cross-article analysis + Different main focus + Different ordering + Different selection of details + Different framing and subjectivity
  6. 6. Similarity 6
  7. 7. Similarity - Objective Similarity applied at different levels: • Article: aggregate on the same events (e.g., News aggregators) • Sentence: identify the same detail • Word: find specific words Resistant to: • Changes in the linguistic surface • Changes in framing à Candidates: BERT, XLNet, USE 7
  8. 8. Example: linguistic surface variation First article (vertical): BBC https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-52012432 Second article (horizontal): The Independent https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/lockdown-coronavirus-boris-johnson-address-statement-social-distancing-isolate-a9420131.html 8
  9. 9. Similarity applied Documents Document vectors Documents adjacency matrix Cross-article Graph 9 Sentences Sentence vectors Sentences adjacency matrix Sentencisation • Similarity • Indexing Linking • Documents and sentences • Narrative features • Embedding • Narrative features
  10. 10. Cross-article signals 10
  11. 11. Main focus Title as proxy of the main focus 11 - Not everyone understands what lockdown means - Coronavirus Act left uncertainties - What are your rights? - Why have there been disagreements? - Possible actions from police? - Right to appeal? - Is there public consent for police powers? - Guidance delivers reasonable force to police - Examples of police actions - Flexible guidance - Other examples What are your rights in coronavirus lockdown Britain? Lockdown police are told they can use force on CHILDREN who go outside - and fine parents £60 for failing to stop them https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/01/what-are-your-rights-in- lockdown-britain-coronavirus https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8177697/Police-use-reasonable- force-children-suspected-flouting-coronavirus-lockdown-rules.html
  12. 12. Ordering Similarity links crossovers 12 - Not everyone understands what lockdown means - Coronavirus Act left uncertainties - What are your rights? - Why have there been disagreements? - Possible actions from police? - Right to appeal? - Is there public consent for police powers? - Guidance delivers reasonable force to police - Examples of police actions - Flexible guidance - Other examples What are your rights in coronavirus lockdown Britain? Lockdown police are told they can use force on CHILDREN who go outside - and fine parents £60 for failing to stop them https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/01/what-are-your-rights-in- lockdown-britain-coronavirus https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8177697/Police-use-reasonable- force-children-suspected-flouting-coronavirus-lockdown-rules.html
  13. 13. Selection of details First article (vertical): BBC https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hereford-worcester-51791346 Second article (horizontal): Daily Mail https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8088805/Britons-facing-heavy-downpours-four-inches-rain-50mph-winds-set-batter-UK.html 13
  14. 14. Framing and subjectivity • Features: – Semantic frames (Fillmore) – Subjectivity and sentiment scores – Usage of word choices • Why? – Acknowledge the framing – Expose to different framing and different subjectivity – Distinguish facts from opinions 14
  15. 15. Conclusions - Framing has big effects - Comparing different articles provides a broader picture - We need a tool to do this comparison 15
  16. 16. References Bountouridis, D., Marrero, M., Tintarev, N. and Hauff, C., 2018. Explaining credibility in news articles using cross-referencing. In SIGIR workshop on ExplainAble Recommendation and Search (EARS). Cer, D., Yang, Y., Kong, S.Y., Hua, N., Limtiaco, N., John, R.S., Constant, N., Guajardo-Cespedes, M., Yuan, S., Tar, C. and Sung, Y.H., 2018. Universal sentence encoder. arXiv preprint arXiv:1803.11175. Cohen, B.C., 2015. Press and foreign policy. Princeton University Press. Devlin, J., Chang, M.W., Lee, K. and Toutanova, K., 2018. Bert: Pre-training of deep bidirectional transformers for language understanding. arXiv preprint arXiv:1810.04805. Fillmore, C.. Frame semantics. Cognitive linguistics: Basic readings, 34:373–400, 2006. Johnson, J., Douze, M. and Jégou, H., 2019. Billion-scale similarity search with GPUs. IEEE Transactions on Big Data. Liu, B., 2010. Sentiment analysis and subjectivity. Handbook of natural language processing, 2(2010), pp.627-666. Zahid, I., Zhang, H., Boons, F. and Batista-Navarro, R., 2019. Towards the Automatic Analysis of the Structure of News Stories. In Text2Story@ ECIR (pp. 71-79). 16 MartinoMensio

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