How To Tell If A Tweet Is Credible

You see them all the time – outrageous tweets making outrageous claims. You know the work-from-home scams are just that, of course, but what about tweets that pop up during emergencies? If you use Twitter for the latest breaking news, or worse – depend on the information it provides during an emergency – you may be in trouble.

Unless, that is, you could tell if a tweet was credible or not.

Well, we have some tips from people who have been studying just that.

According to Slate, “a 2010 paper from Yahoo Research analyzed tweets from that year’s 8.8 Chile earthquake and found that legitimate news—such as word that the Santiago airport had closed, that a supermarket in Concepcion was being looted, and that a tsunami had hit the coastal town of Iloca—propagated on Twitter differently than falsehoods.”

One key difference? “The false rumors were far more likely to be tweeted along with a question mark or some other indication of doubt or denial.”

And a new study looked at more than 200,000 disaster tweets and identified 16 features that best separate credible and non-credible tweets. Here are a few excerpted from iRevolution to keep in mind:

Users who spread credible tweets tend to have more followers.

Credible tweets tend to include references to URLs which are included on the top-10,000 most visited domains on the Web.

And credible tweets tend to include more URLs, and are longer than non credible tweets.

Credible tweets also tend to express negative feelings whilst non-credible tweets concentrate more on positive sentiments.

Question- and exclama-tion-marks tend to be associated with non-credible tweets, as are tweets that use first and third person pronouns.

You can read the entire list here. Do you have any tips to add?

(Squinting image from Shutterstock)