As information travels more and more freely around the web, it’s become apparent that not everything written online is the truth. As viral media sites like Buzzfeed and Upworthy become increasingly popular, it becomes harder to distinguish between true stories and hoaxes circulated in a viral rush. One international group of researchers is trying to put a stop to this.
‘Phebe’ is an EU-funded research project which is attempting to create an online lie-detector for viral media. If the project is successful it could provide a more effective way to separate hoaxes from real news stories as well as pinpointing the culprits behind these viral lies. When it is complete, the system will work by collating data in order to assess whether or not a story seems likely to be true or false.
In order to produce accurate results, Phebe will look at the authority of sources, which can vary from well-known news outlets, to eyewitnesses, blogs, and automated bots.