The Many Dimensions of Truthfulness: Crowdsourcing Misinformation Assessments on a Multidimensional Scale


Recent work has demonstrated the viability of using crowdsourcing as a tool for evaluating the truthfulness of public statements. Under certain conditions such as: (1) having a balanced set of workers with different backgrounds and cognitive abilities; (2) using an adequate set of mechanisms to control the quality of the collected data; and (3) using a coarse grained assessment scale, the crowd can provide reliable identification of fake news. However, fake news are a subtle matter: statements can be just biased (“cherrypicked”), imprecise, wrong, etc. and the unidimensional truth scale used in existing work cannot account for such differences. In this paper we propose a multidimensional notion of truthfulness and we ask the crowd workers to assess seven different dimensions of truthfulness selected based on existing literature: Correctness, Neutrality, Comprehensibility, Precision, Completeness, Speaker’s Trustworthiness, and Informativeness. We deploy a set of quality control mechanisms to ensure that the thousands of assessments collected on 180 publicly available fact-checked statements distributed over two datasets are of adequate quality, including a custom search engine used by the crowd workers to find web pages supporting their truthfulness assessments. A comprehensive analysis of crowdsourced judgments shows that: (1) the crowdsourced assessments are reliable when compared to an expert-provided gold standard; (2) the proposed dimensions of truthfulness capture independent pieces of information; (3) the crowdsourcing task can be easily learned by the workers; and (4) the resulting assessments provide a useful basis for a more complete estimation of statement truthfulness.

Information Processing & Management