Workshop Proceedings of the 16th International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media
Misinformation in online spaces can stoke mistrust of established media, misinform the public and lead to radicalization. Hence, multiple automated algorithms for misinformation detection have been proposed in the recent past. However, the fairness (e.g., performance across left- and right- leaning news articles) of these algorithms has been repeatedly questioned, leading to decreased trust in such systems. This work motivates and grounds the need for an audit of machine learning based misinformation detection algorithms and possible ways to mitigate bias (if found). Using a large (N>100K) corpus of news articles, we report that multiple standard machine learning based misinformation detection approaches are susceptible to bias. Further, we find that an intuitive post-processing approach (Reject Option Classifier) can reduce bias while maintaining high accuracy in the above setting. The results pave the way for accurate yet fair misinformation detection algorithms.