Fighting disinformation in Quebec

Published: 15 December 2023

Until now, most disinformation research, datasets, and tools to protect users like bot detectors, have only included English-language social media. This lack of linguistic diversity leaves Francophone internet users in Quebec and beyond more vulnerable to disinformation as the phenomenon becomes increasingly pervasive in online spaces. 

A new research project funded by Les Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ) and led by Derek Ruths, Professor in the School of Computer Science, aims to advance the efficacy of bot detection in French to mitigate the impacts of online disinformation in Quebec. 

Bots are pieces of software that make posts to social media platforms without a human directly involved. Malicious bots typically attempt to appear “human” to other users, making bot detection a critical tool in the fight against disinformation. 

“AI-powered bots on social media are often used to spread disinformation. We’d like to remove these bots,” said Ruths. “Unfortunately, they are quite good at pretending to be humans online. This makes them hard to find. As a result, we don’t know how well bot detection methods work and how to make them better.” 

Read the full article here.

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