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Meta Creates Sphere, An AI Tool Based On Open Web Content

 |  July 11, 2022

Facebook may be infamous for helping to usher in the era of “fake news”; but it’s also tried to find a place for itself in the follow-up: the never-ending battle to combat it.

In the latest development on that front, Facebook parent Meta today announced a new tool called Sphere, AI built around the concept of tapping the vast repository of information on the open web to provide a knowledge base for AI and other systems to work.

Sphere’s first user, Meta says, is Wikipedia, which is using it to automatically scan entries and identify when citations in its entries are strongly or weakly supported.

The research team has open sourced Sphere — which is currently based on 134 million public web pages. The idea behind using Sphere for Wikipedia is a straightforward one: the online encyclopedia has 6.5 million entries and is on average seeing some 17,000 articles added each month. The wiki concept behind that means effectively that adding and editing content is crowdsourced, and while there is a team of editors tasked with overseeing that, it’s a daunting task that grows by the day, not just because of that size but because of its mandate, considering how many people, educators and others rely on it as a repository of record.