Kathryn Dunn | @greengoldkate The Internet is an ambiguous place, and the proliferation of social media platforms has made it even easier to mislead or even outright lie about anything from personal facts to fake news stories. New developments in software, though, may point the way to a “social media lie detector,” something that could potentially help businesses both vet applicants and stay away from damaging rumors.

The software, called “Pheme,” sorts through rumors and stories and puts them in several classes, and the developers hope to create a web application for general use that would give a “confidence percentage” on a statement or Tweet. According to USA Today, the project is similar to a Guardian project during the London riots in 2011, when the newspaper debunked several online rumors.

The practical applications for such an application would be numerous, though they could come with their own problems. As national and international laws regarding the Internet and the traffic of information therein are still being hammered out, there’s a worry that such a “lie detector” could be seen as intrusive. However, in the past, businesses have been shown a right to correct and complete information, and the public value of debunked sensationalist stories could outweigh any privacy concerns. Keeping news agencies, scam accounts, and the informational web in general more honest would most likely have a generally positive effect on interactions.

As the century moves forward and more businesses turn to social media for promotion, client interaction, and professional relationships, a tool like “Pheme” may not only be useful, but vital.

What do you think about the possibility of a social media lie detector?

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