Beware the liars on Twitter

Twitter is full of liars; honestly. In fact, so is the big wide world. It may come as a shock to you, but people often don’t tell the truth. Twitter is no different – except for one thing. In the “real world” you are able to spot liars using subtle body language examination. Often you don’t realise you are doing it – and neither do the liars. But people who fib or bend the truth usually “give the game away” in slight facial expressions. In general we are pretty good at spotting these micro changes in muscle tone – and women are considerably better than men at noticing such changes.

Online, however, we have little ability to spot the lies and fabrications. With articles, emails, blog postings and entries on Facebook, there is usually a good deal of context, associated material and writing “tone” which helps us make an assessment as to whether or not we can trust what we are being told. With Twitter, those additional features don’t exist; we have a few words, with no context and no real knowledge of the writer. So, lying on Twitter becomes extraordinarily easy – simply because spotting the lies is so difficult.

Or is it? Here are some simple things you can do to assess whether or not the Tweets you read are honest.

  1. Firstly, check out the Twitterer’s frequency of tweeting. If they appear to Tweet almost 24 hours a day (and some of the so-called “top” Twitterers do this) then it’s not them doing it. Either they employ ghost writers in different time zones, or they are automating a whole series of Tweets. In either case they are not really taking part in the conversation on Twitter – even though they appear to be. They are taking you for a ride – and there are some “big names” doing this right now….! True, they may not be technically lying, but they are not being completely truthful either.
  2. Secondly, check for emotional words. If there’s emotional content in the Tweet, it is much more likely to be honest. People rarely use emotional words when lying; they try (mistakenly) to be “matter of fact” (another give-away of a liar).
  3. Thirdly, look for “personality”. If the Tweets for a particular Twitterer include personal facts and information, it’s much less likely to be a liar. Real people reveal real facts about themselves; liars try to avoid being personal.

In real-life social networks, the core group is very adept at eliminating the cheats, liars, fabricators and those who don’t stick to the “rules”. In Twitter, that’s much more difficult due to lack of any “leader” and due to lack of context. The result is that the liars and cheats can survive; it’s up to you to ensure you don’t follow them.

Like this article?

Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on Linkdin
Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on email
Share via email

Other posts that might be of interest

Internet Psychology

Is your brain back to front?

British businesses will spend this weekend on tenterhooks as they wait for Monday’s announcement from the Government about the ending of lockdowns. For the past couple of weeks, the mutterings from 10 Downing Street suggest

Read More »
Internet Psychology

Can you do boring tasks?

Last week, not far from the M25 in Buckinghamshire, the biggest-ever boring machine in the UK started its slow churn through the Chiltern hills to dig a tunnel for the HS2 rail system. It will

Read More »
Fence painting
Online Business

When did you last paint your garden fence?

If you are a “big change” business, then you are like my garden fence. Leaving it unpainted for so long has created much more work, at a higher cost, than if it had been tended to every year. Ignoring reviews of your online activity for long periods also means you make more work for yourself and raise your costs.

Read More »