September 2, 2011
Principal Investigator: Yasuaki Sakamoto
Senior Researcher: Yuko Tanaka
This project focuses on understanding the spread of false information during responses to natural disasters and on the development of new techniques to prevent the spread of false information in social media. For example, after the March 11, 2011 major earthquake in Japan, social media such as Twitter played an important role in sharing information and coordinating disaster response. However, social media were also used by some people to spread false information about radiation and supplies, potentially creating widespread panic. The goals of this project are to better understand how false information is spread via Twitter after an emergency and to develop and evaluate new techniques to prevent the spread of false information. To achieve these goals, Yuko Tanaka and I will build a visualization tool to measure the effectiveness of counteracting tweets that question the accuracy of false tweets and conduct experiments with university students in Japan and USA in which subjects' familiarity with and likelihood of spreading different types of false and counteracting tweets are measured.