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The Science of Truthiness

Soulskill posted about 4 years ago | from the look-it-up-in-your-gut dept.

The Internet 180

E IS mC(Square) writes "Researchers at Indiana University have just launched Truthy.indiana.edu, which they humbly declare 'a sophisticated new Twitter-based research tool that combines data mining, social network analysis and crowdsourcing to uncover deceptive tactics and misinformation leading up to the Nov. 2 elections.' According to their FAQ, they define 'truthy' thus: 'A truthy meme relies on deceptive tactics to represent misinformation as fact. The Truthy system uses Truthy to refer to activities such as political smear campaigns, astroturfing, and other social pollution."

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Absolute Truth For You (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33775846)

Absolute truth: this post contains the word NIGGER so it will be modded down.

Wow... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33776490)

This post is kind of a trifecta.
It is funny, it is on topic, and it is accurate (currently modded -1 Troll).

(It is a tad inflammatory but hey...)

summary: (4, Insightful)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | about 4 years ago | (#33775856)

If you are interested in the truth and have the required attention span to analyse detailed information, you won't be using Twitter.

Re:summary: (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about 4 years ago | (#33776384)

Or shitty social networking websites, for that matter.

Re:summary: (1)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | about 4 years ago | (#33776528)

Only a matter of time before someone smart will start pointing information tools like these at mainstream media, draw up some kind of influence chart. Like shining some sunlight into a dark, smelly infected place...

Re:summary: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33776390)

So many first comments. No replies. Everyone here were first :D
Thread looks so weird now.

Re:summary: (1)

TaggartAleslayer (840739) | about 4 years ago | (#33776458)

That's a rather limited view. Twitter is a communication tool used by millions of people. It consumes and distributes everything from minor status updates to breaking news.

The "everything new is a waste of time" attitude just makes you sound like a dottering old fool.

Re:summary: (3, Insightful)

gilleain (1310105) | about 4 years ago | (#33776532)

Twitter ... consumes and distributes everything from minor status updates to breaking news.

Minor status updates are just that - minor. 24hr news networks can cover the breaking news.

The "everything new is a waste of time" attitude just makes you sound like a dottering old fool.

There are new things that are not a waste of time. Twitter is not among them

Re:summary: (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about 4 years ago | (#33776778)

I'm not so sure that that is a limited view. Take this from the submission: "a sophisticated new Twitter-based research tool". Damn, that just sounds so convincing, those researchers deserve tenure.

Re:summary: (1)

the_humeister (922869) | about 4 years ago | (#33776908)

tl;dr

Bears! (2, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | about 4 years ago | (#33775862)

...which they humbly declare 'a sophisticated new Twitter-based research tool that combines data mining, social network analysis and crowdsourcing to uncover deceptive tactics and misinformation...

Deceptive tactics, such as using data mining, social network analysis and crowdsourcing?

Well now (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33775864)

I'm sure that I'm not the only one who thinks that it'll be overwhelmed by the political wheel in motion

Bears! (-1, Redundant)

dangitman (862676) | about 4 years ago | (#33775868)

...which they humbly declare 'a sophisticated new Twitter-based research tool that combines data mining, social network analysis and crowdsourcing to uncover deceptive tactics and misinformation...

Deceptive tactics such as combining data mining, social network analysis and crowdsourcing?

First Lie! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33775872)

This post is not true.

uncover deceptive tactics and misinformation... (2, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | about 4 years ago | (#33775888)

> ...leading up to the Nov. 2 elections

What's to uncover? Just look at anything published by or in support of any politician.

Re: uncover deceptive tactics and misinformation.. (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 4 years ago | (#33776356)

There's varying degrees of truthiness involved. Some things that politicians say are complete rubbish and somethings are mostly correct.

Re: uncover deceptive tactics and misinformation.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33776442)

Politicians == Evil Liars ~= Lawyer

Re: uncover deceptive tactics and misinformation.. (3, Insightful)

Gription (1006467) | about 4 years ago | (#33776520)

The category of "mostly correct" is where the biggest, most destructive lies are.

First (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33775890)

I am first! Truthtifully!

Twitter used for anti-smear campaigns (1)

CrashandDie (1114135) | about 4 years ago | (#33775894)

We're fucked.

What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33775900)

All politicians and businessmen are full of bullshit.

Hope they've got a big server (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 4 years ago | (#33775910)

'cos that's gonna be one huge dataload.

Social Pollution (1)

foobsr (693224) | about 4 years ago | (#33775912)

What is bad about it? In analogy to pollution, leading to climate change (not a catastrophy, beware), it just leads to social change, and is not change (equated with progress) just the thing we want?

CC.

Re:Social Pollution (1)

CrazyDuke (529195) | about 4 years ago | (#33776378)

Not all change is progress. But, of course, you already know that. So, why are you asking? Oh, yeah... political pollution.

PR teams inject memes (2, Interesting)

AHuxley (892839) | about 4 years ago | (#33775914)

They have learned from Fox news not to use day long talking points.
Undercover, well funded efforts by governments, .coms, .orgs and faith based groups can flood any 'space'.
A random set of users twisting and distorting, voting down and attacking.
They will then just drift back down, waiting for the next mission.
At best you expose 1 ip with a users who has x post over y months.
They are quickly back with a new ip and 'old' users name even if detected.
For best results shine light on their masters, infiltrate their funding and hidden support networks, link into their millionaires, billionaires or gov funded ops units.
They have to spin up links fast on any new issue, that needs a network ;)

Social Pollution (0, Redundant)

foobsr (693224) | about 4 years ago | (#33775920)

What is bad about it? It just leads to social change (like climate change), and change (aka progress) is the thing we all want!

CC.

Hmm. (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | about 4 years ago | (#33775926)

I don't believe them.

Truthiness is truthy (1)

Saint Stephen (19450) | about 4 years ago | (#33775928)

Truthiness is truthy. The cake is a lie :)

Yep (1)

egibster (1913920) | about 4 years ago | (#33775932)

Wow... I saw that when I went to UT. It was a cyborg heaven.

Every meme will be new (0, Redundant)

AHuxley (892839) | about 4 years ago | (#33775936)

They have learned from Fox news not to use day long talking points.
Undercover, well funded efforts by governments, .coms, .orgs and faith based groups can flood any 'space'.
A random set of users twisting and distorting, voting down and attacking.
They will then just drift back down, waiting for the next mission.
At best you expose 1 ip with a users who has x post over y months.
They are quickly back with a new ip and 'old' users name even if detected.
For best results shine light on their masters, infiltrate their funding and hidden support networks, link into their millionaires, billionaires or gov funded ops units.
They have to spin up links fast on any new issue, that needs a network ;)
Colour revolutions did have strange automated bursts/injection points on web 2.0 sites and where noted.

Truthiness is truthy. (0, Redundant)

Saint Stephen (19450) | about 4 years ago | (#33775938)

Truthiness is truthy. The cake is a lie :). This site and Colbert guess what - have an agenda, and Colbert is super liberal

Can they scream their bias any louder? (1)

Shivetya (243324) | about 4 years ago | (#33775950)

Really, this should be fun to watch, to see just how ridiculously one sided that they will be.

Re:Can they scream their bias any louder? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33776290)

CONSERVATARD SPOTTED.

Where is the reference to the words origin? (4, Insightful)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 4 years ago | (#33775960)

OK. "Truthy", and "Truthiness" are terms coined by Steven Colbert (or one of his writers), so why don't I see him getting any acknowledgment?

Uh-Oh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33775962)

There's one state college that will likely see a precipitous drop in Federal dollars combined with being publicly attacked by Obama along with Fox, the TEA Party, Americans for Prosperity, the BBB, 8/28, Glenn Beck, etc etc.

Progressives are nasty if you don't toe their Party line.

Problem is, they aren't any nicer even if you do.

First post! (1)

cupantae (1304123) | about 4 years ago | (#33775966)

...but this is just part of the shady machinery of high-profile congressional campaigns

"Science"? (4, Insightful)

Jawnn (445279) | about 4 years ago | (#33775972)

In the same sentence with "crowd sourced? Fail.
Look, I detest astroturfing as much as the next person who values "truth", but anyone who cares to look, can see lies and half-truths for what they are. Detecting them, then, is not the problem. The problem is that so many people can't, or won't.

Re:"Science"? (5, Insightful)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | about 4 years ago | (#33776346)

When most of the science is sociology - a science of human interaction - I think crowd-sourcing is an acceptable way to do experimental data collection.

Re:"Science"? (0, Troll)

John Hasler (414242) | about 4 years ago | (#33776360)

> The problem is that so many people can't, or won't.

They don't need to, as they know that everything coming from the other side is a lie, so they can just ignore the liars. For example, most Slashdotters will tell you that everything coming from the "right" is a lie and worthy only of ridicule. Thus their adoration of Colbert.

Paging Mr Orwell... (1)

vague disclaimer (861154) | about 4 years ago | (#33775974)

So truth is a lie?

First lie (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33775976)

http://xkcd.com/246/

Not as fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33775978)

Not as fun as I thought being the first to post... reading /. community posts is way more interesting and less work then reading the article :'(

Oxymoron? (1)

picoboy (1868294) | about 4 years ago | (#33775988)

> a sophisticated new Twitter-based research tool

Lost me right there...

Bloomington, IN (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 4 years ago | (#33775990)

The bastion of pure balance. I'm sure the truthiness meter will see no bias creep.
~

Buzzwords (1)

Calydor (739835) | about 4 years ago | (#33775992)

BINGO! What do I win?

Twitter based? (-1, Troll)

TheMidget (512188) | about 4 years ago | (#33775998)

Twitter is so out, hip geeks use Google Live [goo.gl] instead.

But ... (2, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | about 4 years ago | (#33776008)

But how can anyone trust their results if they're gathering their data and posting their results via the internet? Everybody knows you can't trust anything you find on the internet, right?

Because the majority is always right... (2, Insightful)

niftydude (1745144) | about 4 years ago | (#33776012)

Ignoring the inherent dangers of crowdsourcing - why are we supposed to believe that this site is more reliable, and has less bias than your average twitter channel?

I always find myself suspicious when people claim that they have some sort of uncontested claim on truth - politicians who start sentences with the words "believe me" spring to mind.

Progress report (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | about 4 years ago | (#33776020)

Is there any progress in the field of internet technology that isn't about twitter/failbook social data mining crowdsource analysis network social social social cloudsourcing?

If there is, why is this all that makes it to slashdot these days?

Not the first post (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 4 years ago | (#33776032)

This is not the first post. Honest.

Re:Not the first post (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 4 years ago | (#33776366)

First Post!!!

Okay.... (1)

koterica (981373) | about 4 years ago | (#33776036)

So why are they calling misinformation "truthy"? Is this some sort of Steven Colbert reference?

Re:Okay.... (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 4 years ago | (#33776370)

It is, and I'm sure he's thrilled with the implication that his "truthiness" is just a cover for lies. I'm sure this project is going to be funded entirely by Canadian grizzly bears. In an effort to smear his good name.

Smart. Kinda. (1)

Shaltenn (1031884) | about 4 years ago | (#33776038)

The belief that none of us is smarter than all of us is not always true. For something like this I do not know if crowd-sourcing it is the way to go. Once 4chan gets a hold of it, that's it either way.

First?

And their list of facts is displayed where? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33776042)

If we're going to have a group of social scientists run a negative points scoring system it would be great to start out with them saying which views of the world are false and which are true. "Obama is a communist" or "Obama is a muslim" is no different from saying "Republicans are racist" or "Bush was uneducated". Although based on my existing prejudices and the examples they use I suspect they disagree.

Tells you all you need to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33776044)

If any political candidate has to resort to dirty tactics that should tell you as the potential employer everything they need to know about their character and the strength of their ideas, they must be pretty desperate and weak if thats really the best they can do

How many potential employees for any other prospective executive level job would say "hire me because your other interviewees are douchebags" and then proceed to spend 20 minutes burning 100$ bills telling you why they suck and 2 minutes on what they would do differently

would you employ them ? really ?
they would be lucky if i didnt kick their ass out of the building never mind them give them a job.

Colbert (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33776052)

It's nice to see scientists ride the Colbert wave, but they must realize that once Twitter enters the equation, any validity their research might have had goes right out of the window.

learning about memes (1)

hort_wort (1401963) | about 4 years ago | (#33776058)

This could be useful info. It'd be good to know the type of places where the memes turn up. A group of us were talking in Star Trek Online the other night trying to think up how to start:
Keanu (verb) ________, he said "Woah."

Keanu suddenly understood the 2-party system was borked and invented false issues to discuss that weren't important, he said "Woah."

Uninterested (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | about 4 years ago | (#33776060)

Wow, this story has been up for nearly an hour and there's still no comments? Slashdotters are clearly deeply concerned with highlighting the dishonesty of politicians. Maybe because it's so hard to spot...

No one cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33776064)

Just yet.

Benchmarks? (2, Interesting)

flyneye (84093) | about 4 years ago | (#33776066)

And what shall we use to benchmark this tool?
We have been constantly lied to by both Democrats and Republicans for around a century or so since Wilson and Roosevelt took us into this age of swinging socialism and declared the lie of democracy.
We are so gullible we have been talked out of rights and into atrocities without even the benefit of reflection of the wrongs done over long periods of time and lies so old no one recalls the truth.
Suddenly someone finds the "magic 8 ball" algorithm to divine cheese from crap in a world where people pay for imaginary items on Farmville? Let's get hold of ourselves a moment before we get too happy over an erstwhile National Enquirer story.

 

Better solution (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33776070)

They should license the Slashdot moderation system, which flawlessly identifies truth and legitimate opinion (which are highlighted to according to their objective worth) from lies, disinformation and trollery (which are cast down to the lower levels where the ACs dwell) and succesfully filters out any mocking sarcasm.

Sounds interesting (1)

Bruinwar (1034968) | about 4 years ago | (#33776072)

As much as this sounds interesting, I'm not sure how it can replace basic research that is (as far as I know) done on sites like FactCheck.org. Is it true or not? Is it mainly a tool to identify that which may not be the truth?

Obamas already did it (1)

JesseHathaway (924921) | about 4 years ago | (#33776074)

"Send us any fishy e-mails about Obamacare that you get," [foxnews.com] anyone?

Seems like a similar concept, only on Twitter, instead of e-mail.

I can't wait for the researchers to conclude that liberal tweets are 100% true, and conservative tweets are astroturfing. And that the users who are all astroturfers remind them of Nazis, too.

Re:Obamas already did it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33776334)

they are trying to detect and track memes. They are not trying to divine the truth of anything so there will be no conclusion as you've stated. I guess you can wait.

mandatory (1)

hort_wort (1401963) | about 4 years ago | (#33776078)

This is clearly biased toward democrats because they used Al-Gore-rithms.
If I'm the first person to write this, there's something wrong here this morning.

Seems handy (1)

durrr (1316311) | about 4 years ago | (#33776094)

If i understand it correctly it sortof adds a layer of transparency to information on twitter, however either i'm dense or it's a bit tricky to understand what it really means.

The ultimate question should be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33776096)

What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

The word (1)

frozentier (1542099) | about 4 years ago | (#33776098)

is truthfulness.

If these guys would just join the BSA... (1)

John Hasler (414242) | about 4 years ago | (#33776104)

...they could get these pirates raided and shut down.

Truthy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33776114)

...almost truth but not quite.

What has this world come to? Depends on what your definition of is is...

Hmmmm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33776116)

I call Bullshit!

Okay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33776118)

SNOW POST!

Science is truth (1)

KillAllNazis (1904010) | about 4 years ago | (#33776120)

"There is no short cut to truth, no way to gain a knowledge of the universe except through the gateway of scientific method" - Karl Pearson

First (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33776130)

First truth

I never thought I would do this but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33776140)

Frist psot!

Hmm. (1)

Cornwallis (1188489) | about 4 years ago | (#33776146)

"Sophisticated" and "Twitter" in the same sentence.

Yep.

First question (1)

ronocdh (906309) | about 4 years ago | (#33776148)

Do Colbert's comments count as "deceptive tactics and misinformation"? Satire might be rather difficult to account for without broadly categorizing based on the cited source, but a well designed data-mining tool should be able to handle it.

Why would they call misinformation Truthy? (1)

albertid (1905910) | about 4 years ago | (#33776150)

Wouldn't "Falsy memes" be a better name for misinformation?

Hmm. (1)

Cornwallis (1188489) | about 4 years ago | (#33776156)

"Sophistication" and "Twitter" in the same sentence.

Yep.

Truthy (1)

He who knows (1376995) | about 4 years ago | (#33776158)

sounds childish even though it is an old word, and will therfore not be taken seriously by many people.

What ? (1)

captain_dope_pants (842414) | about 4 years ago | (#33776160)

I think I counted every buzzword currently in use in TF summary - got to read the TFA - I might win the buzzwrod bingo :-)

I want the Truthy! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33776162)

You can't handle the Truthy!!!

YtLD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33776166)

I can't quite pin it down, but there is a joke about the "year of the linux desktop" meme in here somewhere.

yawn (1)

fitteschleiker (742917) | about 4 years ago | (#33776200)

who cares? I mean buzzwordtastic but seriously boring

It's so good (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 4 years ago | (#33776204)

It deleted all the comments for this. Tory(at least for the server I am on)

Lies (1)

MasterPatricko (1414887) | about 4 years ago | (#33776206)

This is clearly astroturfing on behalf of the truth

Why? (1)

koterica (981373) | about 4 years ago | (#33776208)

Why are they calling dishonesty "truthiness"?

go colbert! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33776214)

go colbert!

first post (1)

costing (748101) | about 4 years ago | (#33776236)

But is it truly?

So ... "truthiness" eh ? (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | about 4 years ago | (#33776246)

Do they declare which party THEY vote for ? Seems somehow relevant.

This is very interesting research (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33776250)

A truthy meme relies on deceptive tactics to represent misinformation as fact.

first posssst biaetch

No Market (1)

Thunderstruck (210399) | about 4 years ago | (#33776254)

There will be no market for this product. Nobody wants to listen to reason, and it does not sell advertising.

We want to hear that grandma will be put out of her home by the evil "OTHER" candidate.

We want to hear that the highways are riddled with drunks and unsafe cars.

We don't want to hear that grandma's income is actually quite safe, or that highway fatalities today kill fewer people than suicide.

Crowdsourcing the truth (1)

Tisha_AH (600987) | about 4 years ago | (#33776274)

Crowdsourcing may be great for evaluating the popularity of a particular statement but it has nothing to do with the truthfulness of any statement, ideology or belief. I cannot think of a worst way to evaluate the accuracy of any piece of data.

Another "left vs. right" voting system. (1)

Israfels (730298) | about 4 years ago | (#33776292)

How well will it determine half truths? Will a person voting something as truthy actually know if the tweet is the truth or will it simply be a vote for or against a political party? I feel it will be the later. Does it include SEIU memos along with Twitter feeds? How about Acorn memos? DNC news feeds?

From the FAQ, it says that it uses crowdsourcing to determine a tweets truthiness. So it's basically a competition between left-wing and right-wing truthiness voting.

The problem is that liberals use unions and political organizations to organize astro-turfing while conservatives seem to use word-of-mouth and social networking to a much larger degree.

I guess the best test will be the upcoming "Million Moderate March" on Oct. 30th.

Well, we can see where this is going (3, Insightful)

medcalf (68293) | about 4 years ago | (#33776320)

I cannot see any indication that they have done anything to root out their own prejudgements and assumptions, or even to justify their inclusion. So like most politically-driven attempts at "science," this will doubtless just show the ideological conclusions reached by the creators of this tool (the tools behind the tool, if you will) before they even created it.

Not Truthy (1)

saxoholic (992773) | about 4 years ago | (#33776330)

That's not what truthiness is though. Truthiness is the purposefuly following of what one wants to be true, ignoring logic/reason.

Re:Not Truthy (1)

bunratty (545641) | about 4 years ago | (#33776592)

Yes, that's what truthiness is. What people do is make up fake reasons to believe in what they want to be true, and these fake reasons are called misinformation.

fp 6n4a (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33776410)

dim. Due to t43 Parties, but here

What's the point? (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | about 4 years ago | (#33776842)

Aren't there already sites out there that do this, much more effectively? Snopes.com and FactCheck.org are two that immediately come to mind.

I'm really having a hard time figuring out how this uncovers anything. How would it account for some actual event that causes a shift in the nature of associated tweets? It also seems like it might be subject to the old, persistent problem that if people repeat something enough eventually it's considered fact. And what's the benchmark for spotting astroturfing? Is it going to come down to cherry picking information? Anything someone doesn't agree with is dismissed as astroturfing. It also seems like this information, at least, currently is not presented in any meaningful manner that would allow anyone to take away anything useful.

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