Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

We Won’t Get Fooled Again: Some Online Reviews Are Too Good to be True, as Cornell Software Spots ‘Opinion Spam’

26.07.2011
If you read online reviews before purchasing a product or service, you may not be reading the truth. Review sites are becoming targets for “opinion spam” – phony reviews created by sellers to hype their own products and slam the competition.

The bad news: Human beings are lousy at identifying deceptive reviews.

The good news: Cornell researchers are developing computer software that’s pretty good at it. In 800 Chicago hotel reviews, their software was able to pick out 90 percent of deceptive reviews. In the process, the researchers uncovered some key features to help determine if a review was spam, and even evidence of a correspondence between the linguistic structure of deceptive reviews and fiction writing.

The work was recently presented by Myle Ott, Cornell doctoral candidate in computer science, at the annual meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics in Portland, Ore. The other researchers include Claire Cardie, Cornell professor of computer science, Jeff Hancock, Cornell associate professor of communication and information science, and Yejin Choi, a recent Cornell computer science doctoral graduate.

“While this is the first study of its kind, and there's a lot more to be done, I think our approach will eventually help review sites identify and eliminate these fraudulent reviews,” Ott said.

The researchers created what they believe to be the first benchmark collection of opinion spam by asking 400 people to deliberately write false positive reviews of 20 Chicago hotels. These were compared with an equal number of randomly chosen truthful reviews.

As a baseline, the researchers submitted a subset of reviews to three human judges – volunteer Cornell undergraduates – who scored no better than chance in identifying deception. The three did not even agree on which reviews were deceptive, reinforcing the conclusion that they did no better than chance. Historically, Ott notes, humans suffer from a “truth bias,” assuming that what they are reading is true until they find evidence to the contrary. When people are trained at detecting deception they become overly skeptical and report deception too often, generally still scoring at chance levels.

The researchers then applied statistical machine learning algorithms to uncover the subtle cues to deception. Deceptive hotel reviews, for example, are more likely to contain language that sets the scene, like “vacation,” “business” or “my husband.” Truth-tellers use more concrete words relating to the hotel, like “bathroom,” “check-in” and “price.” Truth-tellers and deceivers also differ in their use of certain keywords, punctuation, and even how much they talk about themselves. In agreement with previous studies of imaginative vs. informative writing, deceivers also use more verbs and truth-tellers use more nouns.

To evaluate their approach, the researchers trained their algorithms on a subset of the true and false reviews, then tested them on the rest. The best results, they found, came from combining keyword analysis with the ways words are used in combination. This combined approach identified deceptive reviews with 89.8 percent accuracy.

Ott cautions that the work so far is only validated for hotel reviews, and for that matter, only reviews of hotels in Chicago. The next step, he said, is to see if the techniques can be extended to other categories, starting perhaps with restaurants and eventually moving to consumer products. He also wants to look at negative reviews.

“Ultimately, cutting down on deception helps everyone,” Ott says. “Customers need to be able to trust the reviews they read, and sellers need feedback on how best to improve their services.”

Review sites might use this kind of software as a “first-round filter,” Ott suggested. If one particular hotel gets a lot of reviews that score as deceptive, the site will know to investigate further.

Blaine Friedlander | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.cornell.edu

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Cutting edge research for the industries of tomorrow – DFKI and NICT expand cooperation
21.03.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI

nachricht Molecular motor-powered biocomputers
20.03.2017 | Technische Universität Dresden

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Big data approach to predict protein structure

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Parallel computation provides deeper insight into brain function

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Weather extremes: Humans likely influence giant airstreams

27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>