Liar, Liar, Twitter on Fire

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twitterTwitter has grown exceedingly popular in recent years and now has over 200 million users. The “Twittersphere” as it is called now, has managed to become somewhat of a platform for breaking news. Celebrities, journalists, News Anchors, Writers and Singers all tweet their opinions or unleash some gossip worthy news on twitter and suddenly the entire Internet begins to buzz. There are of course many instances where events are exaggerated to a degree that they are no longer true. Luckily some software designers are working on a way to stop that.

A social media lie detector is being developed by researchers called Pheme. The software would identify the kind of language that is usually used on the Internet to spread rumors or exaggerate the truth. The idea came from Rob Procter, a professor of social informatics at Warwick University. He studied the rumors spread on Twitter in 2011 during the London riots. News was leaked online that the London Eye (a giant Ferris wheel on the River Thames) had been set on fire and the rioters had released animals from the London Zoo. There was also a photoshopped picture that backed up the former news very well.

The infamous photoshopped photo

The infamous photoshopped photo

The study done by Rob Procter also showed that with so many sources of information to check the authenticity of one’s claim, the “Twittersphere” was soon purged of this falsehood. Pheme would do just that, send the identified exaggeration to journalists and authentication sources to verify it.

This project is being headed by the University of Sheffield and comprises of four other universities including Warwick. The prototype will be released within hopefully within the next year.

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