Scientists say they have a tool that can sift fact from fiction in social media. (BRANDS OF THE WORLD)
Tracking Bigfoot, or not

Bigfoot was finally discovered in 2009 — at least according to rumors circulating on Twitter. With misinformation rife on social media, users could do with a tool that can sift truth from fiction.

Now Sejeong Kwon and colleagues at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology have designed an artificial intelligence system that, they claim, does this correctly around 90 percent of the time. If built into social networks, it could help people avoid embarrassing retweets or reshares of false information.

The system analyzed language used in more than 100 rumors — some later confirmed, others unfounded — that went viral on Twitter over a period of 31 / 2 years. The researchers found that false rumors were far more likely to contain negative terms such as “no” or “not” than positive terms such as “like” or “love.”

Being mentioned in “singleton” tweets — ones that were neither retweeted nor replied to — was another indicator of false content. Indeed, the best predictor that something was false was that it was tweeted separately by many users; accurate stories tended to have a few, widely retweeted sources.

New Scientist