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Researchers Develop a Wikipedia of Fact-Checking During Natural Disasters

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The Verily logo.

Verily is an online platform dedicated to crowd-sourcing the veracity of information posted to online media.

Credit: Verily

Social media is often flooded with information in the wake of natural disasters such as earthquakes or tsunamis, but much of that information is contradictory and it can be difficult or impossible to sort the accurate from the inaccurate. Researchers at the University of Southampton, the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, and Qatar Computing Research Institute are hoping to address this shortcoming with Verily, an online platform for crowd-sourcing the veracity of information posted to social media.

To test the platform's ability to rapidly verify information, researchers set up the Verily Challenge. Questions, such as whether a picture had been taken in a certain city, were posted to Verily's website and users were asked to answer the question and justify their answer with an explanation, picture, or video. Researchers found users were able to very rapidly verify or falsify the information on Verily through various means, including personal memory, Web searches, and online tools such as Google Earth.

Researchers say their next step will be to deploy Verily to collect and verify evidence during an actual humanitarian disaster.

From University of Southampton (United Kingdom)
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Abstracts Copyright © 2014 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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