According to Dr. Preslav Nakov, the label only applies to information with a political or financial bias – and it will ultimately disappear
The fake news label should only be applied to stories “where political or financial advantage is being sought”, a computer scientist has told audiences during a cybersecurity contest at Qatar Foundation.
Dr. Preslav Nakov, Principal Scientist at Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) believes that unless a narrative has a “weaponized” political agenda or is designed to tilt the financial scales one way or another, it should not be classed as fake news.
During his talk at the Minaretein building (College of Islamic Studies) at QF’s Education City, he also explained that there is not even a recognized definition of fake news, adding that the Merriam-Webster dictionary sees “no reason” for there to be an entry for this term “any time soon”. And he believes that, like spam emails, fake news will ultimately “disappear” because people will become more attuned to it and recognize its lack of validity.
The lecture, titled ‘Detecting Fake News Before It Is Even Written’, was part of the first Qatar International Cybersecurity Contest (QICC), hosted by Qatar Foundation member Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), which saw five of the university’s colleges host a range of activities aimed at increasing awareness of the need for cybersecurity and identifying ways in which it can be enhanced, and reinforcing Qatar’s role as a leader in this field.
Sponsored by Qatar Airways, QICC featured five contests organized by HBKU’s College of Islamic Studies, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Science and Engineering, College of Law, and College of Health and Life Sciences. With 130 academics, students, and experts from 30 countries taking part, the contests looked at cyberspace through the lens of ethics and morality, fake news detection, ethical hacking, and the importance of securing genetic data, as well as enabling teams from eight law schools around the world to present oral arguments on cybersecurity in a simulated International Court of Justice session.
“Our activities demonstrated that cyber threats cut across all sectors of business and society and require solutions from government, industry, and academia that are agile and innovative.”
Talks and workshops during the three-day event featured speakers from organizations and institutions including Virginia Tech, the University of Cambridge, the University of Sheffield, Genomics England, the Université Grenoble Alpes, and the University of Bologna.
“Our activities demonstrated that cyber threats cut across all sectors of business and society and require solutions from government, industry, and academia that are agile and innovative,” said Dr. Roberto Di Pietro, QICC committee chair.
“The world also needs academics, experts, and policymakers capable of understanding the complex and multidisciplinary aspects of today’s cybersecurity landscape, in order to develop appropriate responses. We’re confident we provided contestants with tools and ample food for thought for the challenges that lie ahead.”
Meanwhile, QF partner university Georgetown University in Qatar and the Community College of Qatar have partnered to co-found the Cyber Security Research Group, which was launched at a public lecture at the university that featured a panel of experts discussing ‘Cyber Security in a Small State: Protecting the Homeland’. The event featured keynote speaker Wil Wilson, a cybersecurity expert who shared his insights on the topic gleaned from his experiences as a military officer and security consultant.