Five European universities are working on a social media lie detector in an attempt to verify online rumors. The technology developed in the wake of the London riots is set to help not only journalists and the private sector, but also governments.
Researchers, led by Sheffield University in England, are cooperating on the system, which could automatically ascertain if a rumor can be verified and whether it originates from a reliable source. It will attempt to filter reliable factual information from social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.
The project called PHEME is being funded by the European Union and has already been in development for three years. It is named after the Greek mythological character of Pheme, who was famed for spreading rumors.
The system will classify online rumors into four different types, the group said in their press release:
– Speculation, if interest rates might rise
– Controversy, as over the possible dangers of the MMR vaccine
– Disinformation, where a rumor is spread unwittingly
– Misinformation, where there is malicious intent to deceive