Codebreaker

Can you spot the fake reviews?

Steve Henn Jul 28, 2011

It seems that sites like Yelp are getting less and less useful.

Whenever I’m searching online for a new Indian restaurant or a hotel I’m hit with these insane pairings — one review raves the other talks about roaches.

Online consumer reviews are everywhere. But how do you know if the review you’re reading is real? Was it written by an unbiased, unpaid consumer? How can you be sure it wasn’t written by the business owner’s cousin or, maybe, her fiercest competitor?

Now researchers at Cornell say they have found an answer. Myle Ott, Jeff Hancock, Claire Cardie, and Yejin Choi teamed up to build software that can spot a fake review automatically 90 percent of the time. Real people fare much, much more poorly. Actual human beings are able to distinguish between a fake and real reviews just 50 percent of the time.

Think you can do better? Take the quiz below and see if you can spot the fakes.

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