Pheme, Death of the Online Hoax?


Cnet     Euronews

A group of researchers funded by the EU have been working on a type of social media lie detector. The project, named Pheme, is said to have grown out of a desire to properly respond to the 2011 London riots. Pheme is able to analyze information such as public facebooks posts and tweets to categorize the validity of the information in real-time.

Instead of analyzing the language in posts, Pheme tries to evaluate the quality of the information as well as it’s source. Pheme looks at information such as the source of the information (news outlets, alleged experts, eyewitnesses, automated bots, etc.)  as well as the history of each social media account, to determine if the information is reliable or not. Pheme also looks for other sources to confirm or deny the information and plots how the topic evolves on social networks. Using this information, Pheme is able to categorize the information into 4 segments: speculation, controversy, misinformation & disinformation.

Intended for governments and emergency services, Pheme could certainly be useful for finding out real-time information on what’s actually going on in times of crisis. The ability to quickly provide resources towards areas of need (while avoiding false claims and ambiguity) could be extremely valuable.  Pheme could also be useful for news outlets who want to report on real-time information while making sure the information they are providing is accurate and reliable. What other ways could you envision governments, organizations, or companies using Pheme?


4 thoughts on “Pheme, Death of the Online Hoax?

  1. I believe that the idea of Pheme is both positive and negative. At a time when we want everything instantaneously, this is great. It has many positive attributes, such as assisting in stopping real threats. However, I think that we also need to consider this as a way for the government, and even the private sector, to be able to monitor our daily lives even further. I just worry that the more we are disclosing on the internet the easier it is for our lives to be monitored. I feel as though the use of Pheme cuts both ways.

  2. I want to comment on the positive side of the Pheme. With so many breaking news and tending stories out every day and every hour, this media has a potential to eliminate unnecessary information for public. The more and more people use technology information is easily accessible and easily disposed at the same time. The consumption of news can be filtered by companies like Pheme in providing the public with accurate news/information.

  3. There are so many sources out there that are essentially unreliable – regardless of their use. A project like Pheme can help to reduce any sort of unreliable sources. How many times have we all jumped on to a piece of news that we all thought to be true, when it was in fact a hoax? It can help to reduce false leads on high profile cases as far reaching as the FBI.

  4. I think Pheme has more positive influence than negative influence. Pheme can help government keep people safe, by killing the rumors which may cause unease to public and preventing riot or terrorists. Pheme can help news agency verify the authenticity of news stories. Pheme can also help companies check the accuracy of market information, which can prevent bad investment decision.

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