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Lie detector developed for social networking websites

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Fri Feb 21 2014, 09:48
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A LIE DETECTOR for online information is being developed by researchers, and could be used to assess the weight of news reports, blog brags, and social networking claims.

Pheme could be used at times of social unrest to sort the wheat from the chaff, its developers claim, and they suggested that during the London riots its fact checking could have prevented panic.

"Social networks are rife with lies and deception, half-truths and facts. But irrespective of a meme's truthfulness, the rapid spread of such information through social networks and other online media can have immediate and far-reaching consequences," the project explained.

"In such cases, large amounts of user-generated content need to be analysed quickly, yet it is not currently possible to carry out such complex analyses in real time. With partners from seven different countries, the project will combine big data analytics with advanced linguistic and visual methods."

Pheme, which is being pursued by University of Sheffield researchers and has EU funding for three years, will look at the 'veracity' of statements, and is a play on the word meme and named for Pheme, the Greek goddess of fame and rumours.

Pheme will look at four types of meme, and these are speculation, controversy, misinformation, and disinformation, the project said that this is a challenge.

"It is particularly difficult to assess whether a piece of information falls into one of these categories in the context of social media. The quality of the information here is highly dependent on its social context and, up to now, it has proven very challenging to identify and interpret this context automatically," the researchers added.

Three factors will be used to assess the veracity of statements based on the information they convey - the lexical, semantic and syntactic data they contain. µ


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