Facebook reported to have acquired Bloomsbury AI to help combat ‘fake news’
Facebook Inc. is buying U.K. artificial intelligence startup Bloomsbury AI Ltd., according to multiple reports Monday, in a move that will help the social networking giant to analyze text and combat so-called “fake news.”
TechCrunch broke the story, saying the acquisition would be somewhere between $23 million and $30 million, while The Telegraph quoting its own source pegging the deal at between $20 million and $30 million.
Founded in 2015, Bloomsbury has built a Natural Language Processing platform called Cape that can read text documents and answers questions about their content. “You can use Cape on your own documents or website, so that users of your knowledge can get immediate answers to their questions,” the company explained on its surprisingly spartan website.
With the platform designed to be “able to answer any question that requires reading better than a human,” at least eventually, Facebook is said to be using Bloomsbury AI’s team and tech to work on combating fake news, as well as other content issues. The mention of the team is relevant because TechCrunch’s Steve O’Hear noted that the deal may have primarily been an “acquihire” given the AI platform itself is still in development.
Facebook’s efforts to deal with fake news date back to 2016, with the company first attempting to use AI as part of its response later the same year. Over the course of 2017, Facebook faced regulatory pressure over the phenomenon from places such as Germany and Austria, making changes such as adjusting its trending news algorithms and adding contextually related articles.
Prior to this deal, Bloomsbury AI had raised $1.7 million from Entrepreneur First, Fly.VC, Seedcamp, IQ Capital, UCL Technology Fund and the London Co-investment Fund.
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