If you're like most people, you give yourself high ratings when it comes to figuring out when someone's trying to con you. Problem is, most people aren't actually good at it--at least as far as detecting fake positive consumer reviews.
Fortunately, technology is poised to make up for this all-too-human failing. Cornell University researchers have developed software that they say can detect fake reviews (PDF). The researchers tested the system with reviews of Chicago hotels. They pooled 400 truthful reviews with 400 deceptive reviews produced for the study, then trained their software to spot the difference.
The software got it right about 90 percent of the time. This is a big improvement over the average person, who can detect fake reviews only about 50 percent of the time, according to the researchers.
They say people fall into two camps. One type accepts too much at face value and doesn't reject enough fake reviews. The second type is overly skeptical and rejects too many real McCoys. Despite their very different approaches, each camp is right about half the time.… Read more