Faculty profile: Qiaozhu Mei

"Rumor has it" in social media

Qiaozhu Mei and a faculty team received a $750,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop tools that help people make personal assessments of credibility. Rather than relying on particular sources as authoritative arbiters of ground truth, the goal is to minimize the amount of "social implausibility."

That is, the tool will identify assertions that are disbelieved by "similar" people (those who, after careful consideration, someone tended to agree with in the past) or come from sources that someone has tended to disagree with. A text mining system for online media will be developed to extract controversial assertions and the beliefs expressed by users about those assertions. Comparisons of beliefs about common assertions, and retractions or updates to beliefs, will be tracked as part of personalized reputation measures.