Pheme - Computing Veracity Across Media, Languages, and Social Networks

A good reputation is hard-won and easily lost. Every other day we see how information and news affect every level of our society: Company stocks, sovereign debt, politicians. This fact is especially true in the Internet era where rumours go viral. The new research project Pheme, co-funded by the European Union’s ICT FP7 programme, aims to compute veracity of rumours across media, languages, and social networks.

Contact: Georgi Georgiev.

Project objectives

The Pheme project will create a computational framework for automatic discovery and verification of information at scale and fast. This framework will allow a better understanding the impact of rumours in social media: where they originate, how they spread, who and why spreads them, with multiple uses in many domains. Pheme started in January 2014 and will be running over the course of three years. The Pheme consortium consists of 9 European partners from England, Germany, Austria, Spain, Bulgaria, Switzerland and Kenya. It is co-ordinated by the University of Sheffield.

Ontotext involvement in PHEME

Ontotext participates in a core role by providing a LOD-based reasoning about rumours, i.e. a domain-independent model of the four kinds of rumours addressed: misinformation, disinformation, unverified information, and disputed information. Modelling and reasoning about rumours is particularly challenging as it is necessary to represent multiple possible truths (e.g. superfoods may cause vs. prevent cancer) and to take into account the temporal validity of information, in other words to accommodate the possibility that two otherwise contradictory statements can be both valid at different points in time.

Moreover, Ontotext’s OWLIM knowledge base will be adapted as a semantic repository with scalable light-weight reasoning. Knowledge from relevant Linked Open Data (LOD) resources will be used, such as Ontotext’s FactForge, DBpedia, OpenCyc, and Ontotext’s LinkedLifeData. These datasets will provide invaluable large-scale world-knowledge of meronymy, synonymy, antonymy, hypernymy, and functional relations, all of which are essential features for classifying entailment and contradictions.

Project Outcomes

Results will be validated in two high-profile case studies: healthcare and digital journalism. The techniques will be generic with many business applications, e.g. brand and reputation management, customer relationship management, semantic search and knowledge management. In addition to its high commercial relevance, PHEME will also benefit society and citizens by enabling government organisations to keep track of and react to rumours spreading online.

FP7 logo The PHEME project is funded by the European Commission under Project No. 611233. It started on January 1st 2014, and will be running for 36 months. European flag