Purchasing deception

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Our state broadcaster does a consumer story on fake reviews. They interview a Canadian at Cornell University who has a deception detector algorithm for reviews.

I wonder if it works for fake news stories.

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3 thoughts on “Purchasing deception

  1. psyopticonpsyopticon

    Sifting fact from fiction in the TripAdvisor reviews is fun as evening entertainment! More often the phony travellers waste no effort in creating back-stories for themselves.

    Take the reviews left by alleged American tourists to England. We should expect their reviews to disclose a basic but clear itinerary for their trip. Revealing everywhere they’ve been, and stayed while here. Lots of reviews left for many different venues — restaurants, hotels, and visitor attractions, during their costly trip across the pond. And with that exposed itinerary being geographically and chronologically practical. e.g. Days #1 and #2 spent in London; day #3 in Oxford; day #4 Stratford-upon-Avon, day #5 Liverpool; day #6 Edinburgh and so on.

    Yet in practice those (fake) TripAdvisor reviewers often arrive in England (or so it seems) and review just one hotel, or one restaurant or one cafe. Before supposedly jetting-off home again! A very expensive flight for what little they got out of it! And an obvious sign of review fakery.

    The frequency those reviews flow in for a particular establishment or product – and the durations between reviews – could also indicate fakery. Reviews should be clustered or concentrated around busy tourist or sales periods of the year. With many reviews left on or after public holidays. There should also be long periods in off-season when no reviews are left at all. Paradoxically that’s just when the venues or retailers most need reviews, and are most likely to fake them. Do the review frequencies, and ‘periodicities’ compare sensibly against those left for rival businesses or products?

    There is also the matter of “authorial invariance” in the reviews for a venue or product. Do supposedly unique reviewers use the same or similar parlance, sentence construction, colloquialisms, vocabulary, punctuation, and so on?

    Valentina Fomenko — mother to Anatoly Fomenko, famed for his research on historical fakery — was herself an expert on the study of authorial invariance in Russian literary texts. She questions: do the works of Tolstoy have several authors, each with his own writing style?

    See Annex 2 of Volume 2 in A.Fomenko’s “HISTORY: Fiction or Science?” See p.458 onwards in this PDF — pialogue.info/books/Fomenko-Hi…

    1. xileffilex

      Do you remember the Al-Hilli alpine mini-massacre hoax in 2012, psy? That was a major event which turned me onto media fakery. The key witness had a very fake looking website for a B&B at Lake Annecy as if to justify his presence there and, hey presto, to come across the fake shooting quite by chance while out for a spin on his bike. Sloppy work, though, not to have generated some trip advisor ratings for his holiday let. I couldn’t find any evidence of anyone having stayed there, indeed the website created for the fake event shortly beforehand didn’t even allow you to book online!
      Not even updated, pickled in aspic since 2012
      france.silverfernsussex.co.uk/
      Anyone fancy some lakeside relaxation in Savoyard style?

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