Social media lie detector: does it work?

Social media has been known to increasingly contribute to the spread of rumors.

A solution to this growing problem could be in the works.

Pheme, the social media lie detector, works to figure out if the rumors put so quickly online have any truth to them.

Pheme works to use “text-mining technology to cull information from large amounts of text data,” Kalina Bontcheva, Pheme lead research said in a USA TODAY Network interview, according to

Text data can include tweets from Twitter, for example. Other examples would be online forums, public Facebook pages and blogs. Pheme has been in the works for three years.

Several different factors will be considered when trying to debunk online rumors. This includes how the rumors were spread and if false reports were spread on purpose.

Ideally, Pheme would help as a Web application in which would give the users of the app “a confident percentage of how likely a statement is true or false,” according to

This app would go further than just possible false news reporting; it could also be used toward figuring out untrue accounts in medicinal controversies and debates.

However, skepticism of the potential app has been rampant. Cynics have said the government does not have the role of deciding what the truth I, and that differing governments have different understandings of what the truth may be.

Skeptics are also concerned about the amount of information that could be very intrusive, according to

As of now, the project is still under development with five universities and four companies. It is mostly being funded by the European Union. Developers and researchers hope to have a model by 2015.

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