Information Credibility on Twitter

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With rumors and fake news being spread all over Twitter I was intrigued to learn about information credibility assessment on Twitter. Of course if you are a Twitter user and looking to increase your Followers count, then it’s intuitive to know that the more credible you look, the more followers you get. That especially applies when Twitter users use the search functionally on Twitter in order to track a specific topic, since the users will read tweets from anonymous Tweeps (Twitter Users) and those who look credible will most likely be followed by the readers.

After some googling I found two very good papers about the topic. The first paper [1] discusses automatic-assessment of Tweets by the use of machine learning classifiers. The authors of the second paper [2] conducted a pilot study to come up with a set of criteria that can help in assessing  whether a tweet or a tweep is credible or not. I won’t go into the details since the papers are very well explained, but I will shorty present the main findings of the second paper since they can be applied personally.

The second paper mentions that Twitter users spend 3 seconds to read any given tweet. Considering this fast assessment time, we should look for clearly visible features to enhance a user credibility. So now in order to look more credible to other users you should consider the following guidelines:

  • Select a topical username. People who use usernames like @MachineLearning or @24Politics look more credible to other users than those with Internet-like usernames (e.g. @terminat0r). Usernames that are composed of first names and last names come second in the credibility assessment after the topical usernames.
  • People who use a topical avatar are seen more credible.
  • Write consistently about the same topic. Hence stick to a topic like politics or science. It should be noted that science topics are seen more credible than other topics, especially entertainment.
  • Use standard-grammar and punctuations. People who have spelling errors and use strange characters like smily faces are seen less credible.
  • Turn-on geolocation. Users who turn-on geolocation and their location complies with the location specified in their bio description are seen more credible.

Taking the previous guidelines in mind will most likely help a user to increase the count of his or her Followers.

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