Facebook has acquired London-based Bloomsbury AI in an attempt to use the company’s technology to fight “fake news” on their platform.
TechCrunch reports that social media firm Facebook has purchased London-based artificial intelligence startup Bloomsbury AI. The firm has successfully developed a natural language processing technology that can help machines answer questions based on information learned from examining documents. Bloomsbury was a project helped along by company builder Entrepreneur First which invests in areas where they see talent and helps people in these areas start companies.
Bloomsbury AI has also been backed by Fly.VC, Seedcamp, IQ Capital, UCL Technology Fund, and the U.K. taxpayer-funded London Co-investment Fund. Facebook is reportedly paying between $23 and $30 million to acquire the company in a deal which will see investors receiving approximately $5.5 million with the Bloomsbury team receiving $17.5 million paid in restricted Facebook stock.
Techcrunch reports that Bloomsbury AI’s CTO/Head of Research, Sebastian Riedel, was a big draw in Facebook’s decision to purchase the company. Riedel is considered an expert in the area of natural language processing and is a co-founder of Factmata, a UK startup that aims to develop tools to help combat “fake news.”
Sources claim that Facebook plans to use Bloomsbury AI to fight fake news but that the A.I. may also be useful as a workplace tool for companies to find content in documents or as a way for Facebook to improve their search and knowledge-base functionality. Bloomsbury AI’s location in London was also reportedly a draw for Facebook which plans to develop a further presence in the United Kingdom through the acquisition of other companies.
Facebook has so far declined to comment on the deal.