There is an indisputable need for reliable online information. This need becomes imperative in real-time information channels (R-TICs) that are omnipresent in the Social Web these days. R-TICs are online systems that provide instant interaction, commenting and notification (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.) While helping us decrease our time and effort to be informed, R-TICs will put new stress to our abilities to act under time pressure in making decisions. Being able to determine the trustworthiness of the information we receive, therefore, will be paramount. How one determines the quality of the information received? Certainly, one needs to be skilled in critical thinking, but technology can also help one act with confidence, by maintaining a network of trusted sources and understanding the reasons why one should trust, or distrust, the information received.
The overall aim of our ongoing research is to lay the foundation of a comprehensive approach to support critical thinking and increase security while maintaining privacy in a trusted cyber-world. Building on the work of other researchers, as well as on the success we had in the past with recognizing and uncovering some of the causes of misinformation, we design a system that can maintain trails of trustworthiness for information propagated through real-time information channels. When confronted with information that requires fast action, our system will enable its educated users to evaluate its provenance, its credibility and the independence of the multiple sources that may provide this information.
Metaxas, Panagiotis and Mustafaraj, Eni. "Trails of Trustworthiness in Real-Time Streams." Design, Influence and Social Technologies DIST Workshop at ACM Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), Seattle, WA, February, 2012.