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What Constitutes a Faithful Summary? Preserving Author Perspectives in News Summarization

Yuhan LiuShangbin FengXiaochuang Han ...+3 Yulia Tsvetkov
Nov 2023
In this work, we take a first step towards designing summarization systems that are faithful to the author's opinions and perspectives. Focusing on a case study of preserving political perspectives in news summarization, we find that existing approaches alter the political opinions and stances of news articles in more than 50% of summaries, misrepresenting the intent and perspectives of the news authors. We thus propose P^3Sum, a diffusion model-based summarization approach controlled by political perspective classifiers. In P^3Sum, the political leaning of a generated summary is iteratively evaluated at each decoding step, and any drift from the article's original stance incurs a loss back-propagated to the embedding layers, steering the political stance of the summary at inference time. Extensive experiments on three news summarization datasets demonstrate that P^3Sum outperforms state-of-the-art summarization systems and large language models by up to 11.4% in terms of the success rate of stance preservation, with on-par performance on standard summarization utility metrics. These findings highlight the lacunae that even for state-of-the-art models it is still challenging to preserve author perspectives in news summarization, while P^3Sum presents an important first step towards evaluating and developing summarization systems that are faithful to author intent and perspectives.
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