Overview of the Shared Task on Fake News Detection in Urdu at FIRE 2021

Automatic detection of fake news is a highly important task in the contemporary world. This study reports the 2nd shared task called UrduFake@FIRE2021 on identifying fake news detection in Urdu. The goal of the shared task is to motivate the community to come up with efficient methods for solving this vital problem, particularly for the Urdu language. The task is posed as a binary classification problem to label a given news article as a real or a fake news article. The organizers provide a dataset comprising news in five domains: (i) Health, (ii) Sports, (iii) Showbiz, (iv) Technology, and (v) Business, split into training and testing sets. The training set contains 1300 annotated news articles -- 750 real news, 550 fake news, while the testing set contains 300 news articles -- 200 real, 100 fake news. 34 teams from 7 different countries (China, Egypt, Israel, India, Mexico, Pakistan, and UAE) registered to participate in the UrduFake@FIRE2021 shared task. Out of those, 18 teams submitted their experimental results, and 11 of those submitted their technical reports, which is substantially higher compared to the UrduFake shared task in 2020 when only 6 teams submitted their technical reports. The technical reports submitted by the participants demonstrated different data representation techniques ranging from count-based BoW features to word vector embeddings as well as the use of numerous machine learning algorithms ranging from traditional SVM to various neural network architectures including Transformers such as BERT and RoBERTa. In this year's competition, the best performing system obtained an F1-macro score of 0.679, which is lower than the past year's best result of 0.907 F1-macro. Admittedly, while training sets from the past and the current years overlap to a large extent, the testing set provided this year is completely different.

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