An algorithm for finding the source of rumors

A Lausanne-based researcher, Pedro Pinto, has developed an algorithm that can quickly trace rumors back to their original source. From

"Using our method, we can find the source of all kinds of things circulating in a network just by 'listening' to a limited number of members of that network," explains Pinto. Suppose you come across a rumor about yourself that has spread on Facebook and been sent to 500 people – your friends, or even friends of your friends. How do you find the person who started the rumor? "By looking at the messages received by just 15 of your friends, and taking into account the time factor, our algorithm can trace the path of that information back and find the source," Pinto adds.

I wonder if this algorithm will finally confirm what's long been suspected — that the folks at Snopes have been the ones all along starting the internet rumors.

Urban Legends

Posted on Sun Aug 12, 2012


I've never known my father. Is there an algorithm for finding him? How about one for telling me why I spend so much time on the Web? What I could really use is an algorithm for getting me a date.
Posted by hoaxinghal  on  Sun Aug 19, 2012  at  12:32 AM
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