Media Interest in our Research on Fake News

Research Dissemination and Knowledge Mobilization

SSHRC Insight Grant (#435-2015-0065): Digital Deception Detection: Identifying Deliberate Misinformation in Online News (2015-2018)

Background Information on LiT.RL Lab:

The Language and Information Technology Research Lab (LiT.RL) was founded in 2009. The lab’s mission is to improve access to information by developing language models, methods, and software applications that can approach human-like understanding of texts through Natural Language Processing (NLP) techniques.

The scientific publications produced by Dr. Rubin and her LiT.RL lab are widely disseminated in scientific journals, conferences, and via lab’s website:

A video self-introduction by the PI is available online: via YouTube. Several aggregated profiles have been created and kept up-to-date (manually or automatically):
Scholarship Western:

Regular updates of the lab’s activity, knowledge mobilization and dissemination efforts are published in FIMS’s bi-monthly Bulletin.

In The Media

Since the 2016 US Election general media has shown some interest in our work. Here a list of media outlets and their respective products such related news articles, audio, or video.

March – April 2017

Excerpt from the FIMS Bulletin (March 13, 2017)

“Victoria Rubin’s research group LiT.RL continued to field media inquiries into their work examining fake news and satire, and whether it’s possible to automatically detect via an algorithm. They spoke to the following media outlets:

Excerpt from the FIMS Bulletin (February 27, 2017

“Associate Professor Victoria Rubin was also in the February 16 issue of Western News, in an article titled “Separating fact from fiction using a ‘fake news’ algorithm.” Professor Rubin discusses her work into developing an algorithm that can distinguish real news from satire”

January 2016 – February 2017

Since early 2016 public talks have been offered at Western, London community at large, and professional international meetings.  Since fall 2016 the mainstream media has shown increased interest in our ‘fake news’ research, as evident from these bulletins (in reverse chronological order).

Research produced by the LiT.RL group (Victoria L. Rubin, Associate Professor, Yimin Chen, LIS PhD student, and Niall Conroy, LIS PhD graduate) was cited on the Columbia Journalism Review website in an article titled “Is Facebook a media company? Some online news consumers think so.” The article was prompted by a release from the Pew Research Center on how Americans encounter, recall and act on digital news. 

[About the source: “CJR’s mission is to be the intellectual leader in the rapidly changing world of journalism. It is the most respected voice on press criticism, and it shapes the ideas that make media leaders and journalists smarter about their work. Through its fast-turn analysis and deep reporting, CJR is an essential venue not just for journalists, but also for the thousands of professionals in communications, technology, academia, and other fields reliant on solid media industry knowledge”. ]

[About the source: Based at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, Journalist’s Resource examines news topics through a research lens. They surface scholarship relevant to media practitioners, bloggers, educators, students and general readers. The philosophy is that peer-reviewed research studies can, at the very least, help anchor journalists as they navigate difficult terrain and competing claims. In 2013 the American Library Association named them one of the best free reference Web sites.]

Victoria Rubin, Associate Professor, was recently interviewed by a couple of international news outlets about her research into fake news.

Yimin Chen, LIS PhD candidate, Niall Conroy, recent LIS PhD graduate, and Victoria Rubin, Associate Professor, jointly published an article on titled, Education and Automation: Tools for Navigating a Sea of Fake News on November 23. As of November 25, the article ranked as the top article on the website.

[About the source: Tom Zeller, Editor-in-Chief of the Undark, and a former New York Times Editor, commissioned our op-ed.Undark is an editorially independent, foundation-supported digital publication of the Knight Science Journalism Fellowship Program, which is headquartered at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.” “Undark is not interested in “science communication” or related euphemisms, but in true journalistic coverage of the sciences.”]

“Fake News or Truth? Using Satirical Cues to Detect Potentially Misleading News”
Thursday, October 20, 2016
4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
MC 6
Refreshments will be served.
Presented by Victoria Rubin, Niall Conroy, Yimin Chen, Sarah Cornwell, as part of the Mediations Lecture and Workshop series.
Respondent: Vicki O’Meara
Satire is an attractive subject in deception detection research: it is a type of deception that intentionally incorporates cues revealing its own deceptiveness. Whereas other types of fabrications aim to instill a false sense of truth in the reader, a successful satirical hoax must eventually be exposed as a jest. This paper provides a conceptual overview of satire and humor, elaborating and illustrating the unique features of satirical news, which mimics the format and style of journalistic reporting. (continue reading).

Professor Rubin also gave a presentation at Lucan Public Library on May 25, 2016, titled “Deception Untangled: Highlights from Deception Detection Research.” Details are available on her blog.

Assistant Professor Sarah T. Roberts and Associate Professor Victoria Rubin were both featured in the January 21st edition of Western News. Roberts’ MLIS course “Analog Gaming in Libraries” and the FIMS Gaming Club were profiled in the article “Analog gaming builds interest for researcher.” Rubin’s research into identifying deliberately deceptive information in online news was profiled in the article “Unraveling the ‘tangled knot’ of online news.”


2016 Western Interdisciplinary Student Symposium on Language Research (Keynote: Victoria Rubin)
Friday, March 4 – Saturday, March 5, 2016
WISSLR is the annual student conference organized by the M.A. Linguistics students at Western University. The goal is to provide students with an opportunity to share their language-related research with professors and other students.

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Victoria Rubin on “Deception and Lie Spotting with Text Analysis”

Presentations will be held in AHB 2R23 (French Department). Please register in AHB 2R07. Free and anyone can attend. FIMS community is welcome! More information.

Language of Deception: Looking at Tell-Tale Signs of Lying
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Central Branch of the London Public Library, Stevenson & Hunt Room A
251 Dundas Street
Presented by Associate Professor Victoria Rubin as part of the FIMS #PublicInterest Lecture Series.
This talk is a brief overview of what is known in interpersonal psychology about deception and the field of deception detection with an emphasis on the analysis of written or transcribed statements. How often do we lie? How well can people tell a lie? If computers were to spot a lie, what should they be looking for? Are there any tools available to date, and how successful are the machines as compared to human lie detectors?


This research has been funded by the Government of Canada Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Grant (#435-2015-0065) awarded to Dr. Rubin for the project entitled Digital Deception Detection: Identifying Deliberate Misinformation in Online News (2015-2018) (

This work could not have been possible without the dedicated team has been contributing towards a working system (

Victoria L. Rubin, Associate Professor, Faculty of Information and Media Studies
Director, Language & Information Technology Research Lab, LiT.RL
Western University, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 5B7
Tel: (519) 661-2111 x 88479, Fax: (519) 661-3506
Twitter: @VictoriaRubin


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