The potential to connect on social media is bigger and easier than ever. Comments, posts, tweets, blogs can all be sent and shared in an instant. However, this super-fast connection that we are all now so used to also has its downfalls. Spamming on social media increased by 355% in the first 6 months of 2013 and now 1 in 20 posts on social media is pure spam. Due to e-mail becoming stronger against spam, social media is now a main target and protections are not strong enough. Facebook currently has the record for the highest number of phishing attacks.
However, in an attempt to combat this problem the ultimate in social analytics has been invented which will uncover the good, the bad and the ugly tweets. Scientists have created a social media lie detector which can tell a truthful tweet from a tweet that is a lie. They have called this system ‘Pheme’ which can judge almost instantly whether a tweet of 140 characters or less is a truthful one. This tool works in real time and aims to prevent false claims and rumours being posted and circulated on Twitter. As a result of untruthful Tweets a significant amount of police attention was wrongfully misdirected during the London riots of 2011.
The tool will be able to check information quickly to identify its quality, origin and truthfulness. It will distinguish the trustworthy from the useless sources and will identify any ‘bots’. Furthermore, it will also examine the history of accounts to establish which ones were set up recently and for the purpose of spamming. ‘Pheme’ will use four classifications for statements: speculation, controversy, misinformation and disinformation. It will also be able to examine how conversations between users have evolved. All this information will be used to assess its truthfulness and the results will be displayed directly to users on screen.
It is expected to take a year and a half to complete the system and is predicted to cost 3.5 million. But once completely this tool will hopefully enable us all to place more trust in what is being claimed on social media. It is an important step in the age where technology is moving so fast and the ability to use it with undesirable motives is also ever increasing.