Pheme (not the rumor spreading deity from Greek Mythology) is a new system that is expected to assist in monitoring online activity to detect, monitor and (quite possibly) quash online rumors before they lead to any unpleasant outcomes.
Researchers will make this happen by creating algorithm to analyze data on social networking websites in real time. Hash tag technology has already made it easy to see discussions expanding on social networking websites; all that is left now is to create the correct technology to analyze posts for their truthfulness.
Let’s face it! We need something like this. Information available on social networking websites will tell you that Michael Jackson is still alive, the real Obama died ten years ago and that a secret society is already colonizing on Mars.
I still think that Michael Jackson is alive and waiting for the right moment to surprise the hell outta everyone
— Natalie Jarrett (@NattyJay__) February 20, 2014
Online Lie Detector Will Hopefully Curb Misinformation Pollution
People know you choose to access your twitter and Facebook accounts before you look up a news publisher when you hear a story from a colleague/friend/fellow coffee-shop patron. That is why lots of people pollute the social media with misinformation. This misinformation pollutes cyberspace and makes it difficult to differentiate fact from fiction. I am not exaggerating and as evidence I present to you the memes created in honor of Nelson Mandela upon his death. The memes featured Morgan Freeman’s picture.
Always used to think Morgan freeman and Nelson Mandela was the same person
— anthony burley (@anthonyburley) February 18, 2014
Online Lie Detector Will Take Time
The system is expected to be up and running in 18 months from now and is expected to take a few years after that before it can be launched in a version easy to use and understand for regular netizens. In its current form, a number of universities are working together to bring the system from the drawing board to the prototype stage.
Questions about Efficacy of Online Lie Detector Linger
There won’t be any fancy online lie detector microphone of an online lie detector quiz. The idea is that the cyber polygraph will work entirely in cyber space and silently monitor the authenticity of posts on social media websites in order to sound the alarm before misinformation goes viral.
However, countless questions about the system still remain unclear and open to speculation. Will the system have the capability to identify rumor spreading individuals? Will it encourage law-enforcement to intervene in order to quash rumors? Will the ability to collect, analyze and restrict the flow of information in real time leave open a window that can be exploited for the generation and injection of information?