Our vision paper on Alternative Facts was accepted for publication at this year's ACM SIGSPATIAL conference in Redondo Beach, CA
Abstract: Following the AAA principle by which anybody can say anything about any topic, the Web is no stranger to alternative facts. Nonetheless, with the increasing volume and velocity at which content is being published and difficulties to assess the credibility of information and the trustworthiness of sources, alternative facts are becoming a major challenge and an instrument for spreading disinformation. Interestingly, the diversity of today’s data sources can also help us to counter alternative facts by measuring their coherence, i.e., the degree to which data from one source confirms or contradict data from another source. While a single dataset can be biased towards supporting or discrediting a statement, the diverse sources of data across media types that are publicly accessible today offer unique perspectives on which to assess a given statement. To give an intuitive example, a statement about the comparison of crowd sizes should align with photos of said crowds. However, these photos could be taken at different times, from different viewpoints, and could lead to different, sample-based estimations. Adding further data from heterogeneous sources, such as metro ridership, can either further support a statement or contradict it. In this thought experiment we discuss the role of geographic data, knowledge graphs, and spatial analysis in approaching alternative facts from a novel angle, namely by studying their coherence, i.e., whether they align with other statements, instead of trying to falsify them. In doing so, we aim at increasing the costs for maintaining alternative facts.