Now Reading:

A lie detector for social media is coming soon

world news

A lie detector for social media is coming soon


In Greek mythology, Pheme was the personification of fame, her boon being renown, her wrath scandalous rumours.

So it is apt that she has leant her name to a new ‘lie detector’ for social media like twitter and facebook.

The system will analyse, in real time, whether a posting online is true.

It will also identify whether social media accounts have been created just to spread false information.

According to BBC, the aim is to help organisations, including governments and emergency services, to respond more effectively to events.

The project grew from research based on the use of social media during the London riots in 2011.
The data being analysed will include posts on Twitter, comments in healthcare forums and public comments on Facebook.

“There was a suggestion after the 2011 riots that social networks should have been shut down, to prevent the rioters using them to organise,” said on BBC, Dr Kalina Bontcheva, lead researcher on the project at the University of Sheffield.

“But social networks also provide useful information. The problem is that it all happens so fast and we can’t quickly sort truth from lies.

“This makes it difficult to respond to rumours, for example, for the emergency services to quash a lie in order to keep a situation calm,” she said.

The system will categorise the sources of information to assess their authority. Categories include news outlets, journalists, experts, eye witnesses, members of the public and bots – accounts that automatically generate social media posts.

It will also examine accounts for a history or background to try to identify whether the account has been created just to spread rumours.

Conversations on social networks will be studied to see how they evolve and sources will be checked to see if information can be confirmed or denied.

The results of the system searches will be displayed on a “visual dashboard” so users can see if a rumour is taking hold.

The first set of results is expected to be ready in 18 months and will be tested mainly with groups of journalists and healthcare professionals.

The project, which is named after the Greek mythological character Pheme – famed for spreading rumours – will run for three years. It involves five universities – Sheffield, Warwick, King’s College London, Saarland in Germany and Modul in Vienna. Four companies are also taking part – Atos, iHub, Ontotext and swissinfo.

At the end of the project, it is hoped that a customised tool will be produced for journalists.

Every story can be told in many ways: see the perspectives from Euronews journalists in our other language teams.

Next Article