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Since many consumers use online reviews to find good deals, many reviews on site like Amazon, TripAdvisor and Yelp are fake – created by people who are paid to write glowing reviews. A team of researchers at Cornell published a paper on an algorithm they developed that detects these deceptions:
The Cornell researchers tackled what they call deceptive opinion spam by commissioning freelance writers on Mechanical Turk, an Amazon-owned marketplace for workers, to produce 400 positive but fake reviews of Chicago hotels. Then they mixed in 400 positive TripAdvisor reviews that they believed were genuine, and asked three human judges to tell them apart. They could not.
"We evolved over 60,000 years by talking to each other face to face," said Jeffrey T. Hancock, a Cornell professor of communication and information science who worked on the project. "Now we’re communicating in these virtual ways. It feels like it is much harder to pick up clues about deception."
So the team developed an algorithm to distinguish fake from real, which worked about 90 percent of the time. The fakes tended to be a narrative talking about their experience at the hotel using a lot of superlatives, but they were not very good on description. Naturally: They had never been there. Instead, they talked about why they were in Chicago. They also used words like "I" and "me" more frequently, as if to underline their own credibility.
– In a Race to Out-Rave, 5-Star Web Reviews Go for $5, The New York Times>>
– Is That Review a Fake? The New York Times>>
– (Opens PDF directly) The paper: Finding Deceptive Opinion Spam by Any Stretch of the Imagination>>