Tom Meservy, Brigham Young University professor of information systems, Jeffrey Jenkins, professor at Brigham Young University, and colleagues at the University of Nebraska-Omaha and the University of Arizona published the first directory of tells that indicate a person is lying using social media in the Sept. 4, 2013, edition of the journal ACM Transactions on Management Information Systems.
The tells are shorter responses, taking loner time to respond, and an increased number of edits.
The researchers based their findings on experiments using text messaging but indicate the results are directly translatable to all social media and all communications where a person cannot see the other person they are talking to.
The basis for the experiment is that people in general can only tell that a person is lying about 50 percent of the time even if they can see the other person’s facial expressions and hear the changes in the tone of the other person’s voice.
The impersonal communication through cell phones, email, and in social media makes spotting a liar more difficult.
The researchers tested their hypothesis using 100 students from two different universities in different parts of the United States. The participants were told to lie about 50 percent of the 30 subjects they texted about.
People they took ten percent more time to respond when they lied and edited their response more frequently.