back to article Talk in Trump's tweets tells whether tale is true: Code can mostly spot Prez lies from wording

Boffins from the Netherlands and France claim that the word choices and sentence construction in President Donald Trump's tweets can be used more often than not for lie detection. In a paper distributed through ArXiv earlier this month, researchers Sophie van der Zee, Ronald Poppe, Alice Havrileck, and Aurelien Baillon – from …

  1. malle-herbert Silver badge
    Trollface

    Why not just...

    If mouth=open then lies=true;

    Works for almost any politician...

    1. Someone Else Silver badge

      Re: Why not just...

      For Herr Drumpf, its more like:

      if breathing() return LYING

      1. sabroni Silver badge

        Re: if breathing() return LYING

        Hillaire. Yet the article itself states that only 30% of his tweets were deemed inaccurate by the Washington Post.

        I fucking despise what he's doing and how he's doing it. One of the things I despise is how he doesn't care about truth. You won't combat that by making things up.

        1. Terje

          Re: if breathing() return LYING

          That is likely because only 35% of the tweets actually contain any information that can be truth or lies the remaining 5% is likely truth by accident.

        2. jmch Silver badge

          Re: if breathing() return LYING

          "the article itself states that only 30% of his tweets were deemed inaccurate by the Washington Post."

          Most politician-speak is vague waffle that can't be pinned down one way or another as true or false. So I think 30% definitely false is quite high.

    2. Norman Nescio Bronze badge

      Re: Why not just...

      I think a lot of politicians maintain an intentional ignorance of the topics upon which they opine, on the basis that they cannot be accused of lying if what they say is either (a) not known by them to be untrue* or (b) not believed by them to be untrue. Credible bullshitting relies on you not knowing what you are talking about, because psychologically, you are not working against the feeling that you know what you are saying to be an untruth. Others achieve the same effect by simply not caring if they are lying - such individuals are can be dangerous.

      This also goes some way to explain why many** senior managers are uninterested in the details. Ignorance can be very powerful.

      *The partially successful Amber Rudd defence.

      **Not all. I have been privileged to met some of the few exceptions.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Re: Ignorance can be very powerful

        It is very powerful. It put Trump in the White House.

        That said, I have a problem with the dataset. Only 30% were factually incorrect ? Really ?

        I haven't seen a truthful tweet from him since ever. He does not know how to tell the truth. There is not one single thing he has said in public that cannot be almost immediately contradicted by a simple google search.

        So 30% really rubs me the wrong way.

        1. Tomato42 Silver badge

          Re: Ignorance can be very powerful

          yeah, that 30% would suggest that the distribution was skewed somehow, politifact places him at 31% for half-true or true statements.

          It's nice to know that this sack of shit is actually lying, not just uninformed and refusing to get informed.

        2. Alien8n Silver badge

          Re: Ignorance can be very powerful

          The best lies are wrapped in truth. Think of the Brexit NHS claim.

          "We give £350M a week to the EU"

          Technically true. All that was omitted was the fact that the majority of it was then spent in the UK on EU science projects, redevelopment schemes and subsidies. So the inference that we could give £350M a week to the NHS was the lie, as after the returns to the UK most of it would no longer be available. It was also predicated on the whole "Brexit Dividend", the idea that somehow leaving the EU would result in a magically better performing economy, since backtracked on by all but the most ardent Hard Brexiters.

          1. Gio Ciampa

            Re: Ignorance can be very powerful

            "We give £350M a week to the EU"

            Technically even that statement is false - given that it's the pre-rebate figure - so we actually hand over rather less than that (and then most of it comes back our way - in effect - through EU spending)

            I gather someone is trying to sue Boris over that whole bus thing... popcorn at the ready...

        3. Iain 14
          Unhappy

          Re: Ignorance can be very powerful

          "That said, I have a problem with the dataset. Only 30% were factually incorrect ? Really ?"

          You have to remember that, as POTUS, a lot of Trump's tweets are purely "administrative", e.g. today's "HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL!" tweet.

          In that context, around 30% proven factually incorrect sounds reasonable. Also given the sheer scale of his tweeting (16 tweets in the last 24 hours), that still represents a LOT of lies...

          1. Bonzo_red

            Re: Ignorance can be very powerful

            If the tweet was him wishing a happy thanksgiving to all, then it could be classed as in accurate since he would never, ever wish a happy thanksgiving to Hillary.

            1. DavCrav Silver badge

              Re: Ignorance can be very powerful

              "If the tweet was him wishing a happy thanksgiving to all, then it could be classed as in accurate since he would never, ever wish a happy thanksgiving to Hillary."

              Hillary and Bill Clinton were guests at Donald and Melania Trump's wedding. So never ever might be the wrong thing to say. 'Lock her up' is just a show he puts on.

          2. Someone Else Silver badge

            @Iain 14 -- Re: Ignorance can be very powerful

            You have to remember that, as POTUS, a lot of Trump's tweets are purely "administrative", e.g. today's "HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL!" tweet.

            You're assuming that Agent Orange actually meant to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all, including the residents of Orange County who just turned the county entirely blue, or anyone living in or near Chicago or New York City or Washington D.C., or anyone whose skin has a higher concentration of melanin than he has, or a woman who won't let a man arbitrarily "grab her pussy", or anyone of Hispanic descent, or anyone who worships something other than the Lutheran God of the Holy Trinity, or.... No, I would maintain that this, too, was a lie (or perhaps was sent by one of his staffers, who may actually believe the sentiment included therein).

        4. cosmogoblin

          Re: Ignorance can be very powerful

          Only 30% were factually incorrect ? Really ?

          Since they only considered falsifiable statements (having removed opinions etc. from their data set), I had a similar reaction.

          But I suppose some facts are so incontrovertible that even His Highness couldn't screw them up. "It's Thursday" is hard to get THAT badly wrong, yeah?

          And Trump doesn't care about the truth, he's not actively trying to lie; so I suspect some of the "facts" he just makes up out of whole cloth turn out to be correct... Stop clocks, and all that.

        5. Frank Bitterlich
          Holmes

          Re: Ignorance can be very powerful

          That said, I have a problem with the dataset. Only 30% were factually incorrect ? Really ?

          Combine this with "[...] while tweets with religious terminology were less likely to be false." – I would say that the fact-checkers were not diligent enough...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why not just...

        BREXIT anyone!?

    3. John Sanders
      IT Angle

      Re: Why not just...

      orange_man = "bad";

      echo($orange_man);

      There you go, AI doesn't need to be be more sophisticated than that.

  2. Keef

    Nice word

    'winnowed'

    I like that and will use it.

    However, I find the easiest method of dealing with statements from the current racist, idiot bully incumbent POTUS is not to trust anything written or said. Fact check from several sources, occasionally he does get something right, I'm really not sure how though.

    1. Someone Else Silver badge

      Re: Nice word

      Downvoted for the "occasionally he does get something right", remark. Citations needed.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Nice word

        Downvoted for the "occasionally he does get something right", remark

        It simply reflects that the 100 monkeys algorithm has an easier time composing tweets. They're shorter than the complete works of Shakespeare.

    2. IceC0ld Bronze badge

      Re: Nice word

      occasionally he does get something right, I'm really not sure how though.

      ===

      even a broken clock is correct twice a day

    3. fajensen Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Nice word

      Fact check from several sources, occasionally he does get something right,

      Yes, but .... why?

      Nothing is going to change, Donald Trump absolutely doesn't care, his supporters doesn't care, his opponents only care so far as to be virtue-signalling to each other and there is still two years to when the Dims and their 15000 army of con-slut-ants will somehow manage once again to pick the one candidate in the known universe that will certainly lose to Donald Trump and "Try", Ever so Hard, to win a presidential race.

      Instead of bother with the twit's tweeting one could learn to play the guitar or something!

  3. Dwarf Silver badge

    Covfefe

    What did it say about that ??

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Covfefe

      "stop tweeting at 2AM after working from 6AM the previous day"

      (I think that's what actually happened, or something similar)

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Covfefe

        Some of us do just fine on 4 hours sleep per day. I typically get three hours at night, and a one hour siesta after lunch. Other folks might balk at such a sleep schedule, but it's been working for me since I was in high school.

        It would seem that the Idiot in Chief is not one of us (TINU).

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Covfefe

          Some of us do just fine on 4 hours sleep per day

          Any less than about 8 hours for two days in a row is a shortcut to a guarenteed migraine for me..

      2. Mycho Silver badge

        Re: Covfefe

        More like 'lock your phone before you put it in your pocket mid-tweet'.

      3. netminder

        Re: Covfefe

        The tangerine terrorist never starts his day before 9AM, needs to get his ego stroked by Fox & Friends. There are long periods on his official schedule for 'executive time' which is naps & ego enrichment in front of the TV. He is not overworked & is as sharp at 2AM as at 2PM

    2. Mooseman Bronze badge

      Re: Covfefe

      Clearly Covfefe was true. It's the best word. Nobody else has words like it.

  4. Someone Else Silver badge

    "And no, it's not simply return true;..."

    No, indeed. If it's a Drumpf twat er...tweet, it's return false.

  5. DougS Silver badge

    He has all kinds of tells

    He would make the worst poker player in history. My favorite is the "strong and powerful denial". When he says someone gave him a strong and powerful denial, you know that not only was the denial a lie, Trump knows it was a lie but intends to defend it to his death.

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: He has all kinds of tells

      but intends to defend it to his death the point at which it becomes inconvenient.

      ftfy. The SCROTUS (Supreme crap regurgitator of the United States) won't defend anything to his death, because that would imply some kind of honour and consistency.

      1. Spanners Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: He has all kinds of tells

        SCROTUS - an excellent acronym!

    2. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: He has all kinds of tells

      When he says someone gave him a strong and powerful denial, you know that not only was the denial a lie, Trump knows it was a lie but intends to defend it to his death.

      No, I think he is honestly convinced by what Putin, Kim and bin Salman have said to him. He sees them as strong leaders and openly admires them, almost fawning in their presence. The same authoritarian streak which makes him believe his position gives him the right to do more than the Constitution actually allows, also leads him to deference in the presence of those who can order actions against their enemies with little restriction. This is why Kelly and the rest of his staff have to explain everything again to him once the summit meetings are over.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Missing letter

    you missed "Magnificent" from the acronym.

  7. Mongo

    Dodgy statistics

    The "factually accurate tweet" category is too small

  8. Palpy

    Interesting study, bad subject

    I think Trump is not a good liar, nor does he care to be. When he makes statements which are factually, provably wrong, he doesn't really try to justify them. He has said he views these statements as "truthful hyperbole", though there is nothing truthful about them. Trump lies to intimidate, confuse, or (most often) to dog-whistle his base. He doesn't intend deep deception. Nor is he smart enough to carry it off.

    It would be a tougher test of the lexical analysis if the researchers used it on statements by Putin, who is, I think, a masterful liar. Putin does lie to deceive. He does it with a chess-players long view of tactics and strategy, and with the smiling lubricity of a master poker player.

    Where Trump flaps and squawks, Putin smiles and slithers.

    Incidentally: the "all politicians do it" line doesn't work. No politician on either side of the Pond lies nearly as often as Trump lies. He is really exceptional in that regard. It's like comparing a guy who habitually drives on the sidewalks, runs over pedestrians, and smashes into other cars with someone who has gotten three tickets for running stop signs.

    1. Mycho Silver badge

      nothing truthful about them

      How it works, in case anyone actually cares:

      • Trump accuses Germany of getting 85% of their gas from Russia, says it's a security risk.
      • The media fills up with stories that Trump lied and it's really only 52%
      • German politicians realise that getting more than half of their gas from Russia still looks bad.
      • Germany signs a deal to buy American gas.

      The truth was that Germany was buying more Russian gas than most people would be comfortable with. The hyperbole/lie was that it was 85%. By focussing on the lie the media signal-boosted the truthful part and America's gas industry were the ones to profit.

      1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: nothing truthful about them

        "Trump accuses Germany of getting 85% of their gas from Russia, says it's a security risk."

        Damn clever these Russians - I didn't know you could deliver malware through the gas pipes.

        Seriously, what has the Russian government got to gain by using gas supplies as a form of ransom? This is a country with vast gas reserves which wants foreign currency. To do that you become known as a reliable supplier. Cut off German gas in winter and your economy just tanked.

        Delivering US gas by tanker is far more of a security risk. In fact, Trump's strategy of trying to force the EU to buy American shows who is the real villain in this piece.

        1. Rupert Fiennes Bronze badge

          Re: nothing truthful about them

          The Russians have cut off gas to those that displeased them, several times in fact. As per the construction of Nord Stream 2, there comes a time when your physical infrastructure is so biased towards one supplier that you lack the ability to go elsewhere in a hurry. At which point, you don't need to cut people off to demonstrate your power: just have some "technical problems" that reduce the flow, while asking if your customer would mind doing a few things for you.

          How is an LNG tanker a security risk, exactly?

          1. fajensen Silver badge

            Re: nothing truthful about them

            How is an LNG tanker a security risk, exactly?

            Like SWIFT or the Internet: Any infrastructure is also a weapon seen from the US perspective.

            The yanks might get miffed over something at any given moment and confiscate payments or cancel delivery. The Russians only canceled gas to Ukraine because Ukraine did not pay, which is normal, one would think.

      2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: nothing truthful about them

        I doubt Trump's intervention will have any effect on where Germany buys its gas from. The US have been bringing large amounts of LNG onstream, due to their rise in production from fracking, and so are looking to sell it into Europe. Only an idiot ignores a possible alternative supplier - even if only to make your main supplier cut their prices.

        Gazprom are still building a massive second pipeline from Russia to Germany, in order to cut-out and fuck-over Germany's allies in Eastern Europe ease the logistics of their supplies to Germany. So Germany are still planning to use lots of Russian gas. They're just putting alternatives in place, now they're available.

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          exporting gas

          I dont know why any country would export fossil fuel.

          Its shortsighted . And by shortsighted I mean not looking 100 years ahead .

          1. DougS Silver badge

            Re: exporting gas

            I dont know why any country would export fossil fuel.

            First of all, the US isn't trying to produce as much natural gas as we do. It is a byproduct of the fracking for oil. The US is now the world's largest oil producer, and based on the trends in production growth from 2008-2018 within the next year or two will produce more oil than it consumes.

            If there was no alternative to fossil fuels then I'd agree with you that exporting it would be short sighted for a country like the US but we can't get the oil out without getting gas as a byproduct so we can either let it go waste (burn it off) find ways to use it (difficult since you can't just flip a switch and replace coal or oil burning generators with natural gas overnight) or sell it. You can't leave it in the ground and you sure can't store the volumes we're producing.

            For countries like Russia and Saudi Arabia who derive much of their GDP from oil and gas production, leaving it in the ground and using only what you need is only an alternative if you want your government overthrown.

            At the rate wind and solar is dropping in price, that natural gas may be worth much less in a decade. Coal is already more expensive - even the pollution regulation cuts Trump's cronies have pushed through won't cure the "problem". Coal is finished in the US, no new plants will be built and the existing ones are being retired before their full life span is reached. Gas is still needed for base load, but as better battery technology (flow batteries etc.) comes online over the next decade, it will become practical to store excess wind/solar and eat into natural gas's baseload role.

            It will take decades to replace natural gas's baseload role completely, but once wind/solar is cheaper with storage (it is already nearly equivalent for peak power use) new natural gas plants won't be built and gas utilization will slowly drop as existing plants are retired and replaced by wind and solar.

            1. beep54
              Flame

              Re: exporting gas

              "we can't get the oil out without getting gas as a byproduct so we can either let it go waste (burn it off)"

              When I was a wee sprat living in Tulsa lo these many years ago, we'd often pass by small refineries (or something) where they were burning off natural gas. This tended to grab my attention as it was one honking huge gout of fire, so I'd ask Dad (since he was in the industry even if he was an office manager) why they would do that. If it was gas, why not use it? Cars use gas, right? Wrong type of gas he said. Still, this seemed totally stupid to my child's mind. Years on, it is oddly comforting to know I was right about it.

              [as to the icon, not pissed about anything; that's what the burn off looked like]

            2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: exporting gas

              If there was no alternative to fossil fuels carbon for the chemical industry and metal smelting<

              Well, is there? That's why continuing to use it and export it as a fuel is short-sighted.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: exporting gas

            > I dont know why any country would export fossil fuel.

            Errm, because other countries don't have any of their own? [And the people in those countries like the idea of not dying of hypothermia in Winter?]

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Interesting study, bad subject

      "truthful hyperbole"

      Sounds like some academic or other adult supervisor got him to rote learn a big word so he could call his version something other than Fake News 'cos only the "bad people" do Fake News.

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: Interesting study, bad subject

        Doug , do you think wind and solar can ever replicate the sheer megaJoules that 100 million barrels of crude per day produces?

        and how would you store it?

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: Interesting study, bad subject

          do you think wind and solar can ever replicate the sheer megaJoules that 100 million barrels of crude per day produces?

          Eventually yes. I did say "decades", did I not? This isn't something you do overnight - all you have to do is bring enough solar/wind online to replace any new generating plants that are needed (for either new capacity or existing) and then it is just a matter of time. Obviously some areas are more amenable to wind and especially solar than others, but fortunately the places with the greatest peak to peak demand cycles tend to be ones with a lot of sunshine to exploit - and unlike wind that can be effectively exploited in small scales on people's rooftops. So there's a lot you can do before you start looking at replacing base load capacity.

          As for how you would store it, there are already utilities making use of flow batteries and other storage technologies to store renewable energy. That's just getting started, but I would expect by the end of next decade it will be commonplace. Distributing storage batteries around the grid would also buffer the grid, making it more resilient to the sort of domino effect outages where one transformer blows, overloading another and a localized outage grows in scale so it is desirable even before renewable + storage is lower in price.

          The mistake people make in thinking about wind and solar replacing fossil fuels is thinking in too short of time scales, and ignoring that wind/solar get cheaper over time as technology improves while fossil fuels grow more expensive due to more challenging recovery methods. The market is going to make this happen, though subsidies can (and have) helped push the technology more quickly and could help pull the timescale in further.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Accuracy

    A quick look at the WaPo fact checker page would suggest that 73 per cent is less accurate than return true;

    Off topic a bit, I'm hoping that after the impeachment the use of the word 'sad' will be banned in sentences of less than two words.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Accuracy

      think of it this way: 70% accuracy, and 30% of the tweets were deemed "untrue".

      If the statistics are correct, then the 30% "untrue" on a list of 100 perfectly truthful tweets would be "about right" for an algorithm that is 70% accurate.

      Just doing the maths...

      (and yes, I _DID_ imply that 100% of Trump's tweets are true, just to poke the hornets' nests)

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Accuracy

        Bob, I don't know you in real life at all, but I've read enough of your posts here on ElReg to know that you're not a complete idiot. There is no way in hell that you can convince me that you don't know full well that Trump is an inveterate liar, and has been since the year dot. Just admit you backed a fucking liar and get the load off your shoulders.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Accuracy

          Bob, I don't know you in real life at all, but I've read enough of your posts

          I am not sure that that was the Real Bombastic Bob (tm). There weren't ENOUGH WORDS in all CAPS sprinkled ALL OVER the text.

          Will the Real Bombastic Bob (tm) PLEASE STAND up?

          1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: Accuracy

            Will the Real Bombastic Bob (tm) PLEASE STAND up?

            Be careful what you ask for..

            1. ratfox Silver badge
              Meh

              Re: Accuracy

              It's not very useful to claim "73 per cent accurate". What they should give is a percentage of false positives and false negatives.

              1. arctic_haze Silver badge

                Re: Accuracy

                "It's not very useful to claim "73 per cent accurate". What they should give is a percentage of false positives and false negatives."

                False positives are 100% minus the hit rate (that is 23%). From the x-axis of Figure 2 in the manuscript it is visible that false negative is also close to 25%. I know this from the description on page 11 (search for "false positive").

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: Accuracy

      I'm hoping for no removal of the Idiot in Chief from the Oval Office before the next election ... because I truly believe the VP is even worse. We can survive another couple years of the emasculated Trump (Dems hold Congress, and most Reps are anti-Trump at this point); I'm not at all certain we could survive a couple years with that fuckhead Pence and his backwards-ass religious cronies in power.

      1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

        Re: Accuracy

        @ jake

        I thought that was pretty much the GoP plan. Trump fucked with their plan, but Pence is totally their man. Plus getting tax cuts and their picks on SCOTUS is all Trump needs to do.

        And yeah, Pence is proper scary. Dick Cheney level scary.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Basically Depends Who Wrote It

    I am seriously wondering if this exact model could classify dementia. If said tweet came from a marginally cogent and stable PR drone, it may actually have some truth to it. If it's actually from el presidente, it's probably bullocks,

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Basically Depends Who Wrote It

      "a marginally cogent and stable PR drone"

      These are too easy to identify. They have standard texts such as "only a few users" deployed irrespective of whatever it is they're trying to minimise.

  11. IceC0ld Bronze badge

    T witter

    I nvolves

    T rumps

    S eriously

    U gly

    P ostures

  12. Hero Protagonist

    Another possible explanation for the differences

    All the truthful tweets are written by someone other than Trump. So not detecting true/false so much as Trump/NotTrump

    1. Iain 14
      Holmes

      Re: Another possible explanation for the differences

      "All the truthful tweets are written by someone other than Trump. So not detecting true/false so much as Trump/NotTrump"

      Surprisingly, this doesn't seem to be something the boffins have considered, but is (IMO) quite likely.

      It's certainly safe to say that a lot of his tweets are written by others - usually the more official/diplomatic ones, such as the recent tweet regarding the discovery of that lost Argentine submarine.

      Even with just a brief skim through Trump's twitter feed (and I seriously wouldn't recommend spending more than 5-10 minutes there), you will find his followers attempting to identify tweets written by others. This is genrally based on a combination of spelling, puctuation (e.g. excessive use of "!"s), word use and tone. When they were tweeted can also be a factor, e.g. his early-morning burst of tweets while watching "FOX and Friends" is a regular source of hysteria and misinformation...

  13. jake Silver badge

    I see the Idiot in Chief's #1 ...

    ... and probably only remaining fan still has an ElReg account.

  14. SVV Silver badge

    Ecole Normale Superieure

    I love this name - it's the SUPERIOR normal school!

    1. nagyeger

      Re: Ecole Normale Superieure

      Long time since I did french, but Ecole Superieure (can't spell even when I copy and paste) probably means something at university level. Ha! Wikipedia agrees. ... "ENS has the highest ratio of Nobel laureates per alumnus of any institution worldwide"

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        @ nagyeger

        You are correct. In France, any education institution with "Supérieure" in the name is University level and logically ends in a Masters-level degree.

        The Ecole Normale Supérieure is actually the golden highway for future politicians and high-level functionaries. The other preferred method is becoming a lawyer, then getting into politics (like Sarkozy did).

        1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

          Re: @ nagyeger

          "The Ecole Normale Supérieure is actually the golden highway for future politicians and high-level functionaries. The other preferred method is becoming a lawyer, then getting into politics (like Sarkozy did)."

          Sort of like PPE at Oxford but an actual qualification rather than admission to a club?

          1. Wellyboot Silver badge

            Re: @ nagyeger

            @Voyna >>>Sort of like PPE at Oxford but an actual qualification<<<

            I would contend PPE is a very specialized qualification -> Arguing the toss with a side order of fudging the numbers.

            The (party agnostic) 'club' is normally joined at birth.

          2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

            Re: @ nagyeger

            Replying to myself, I suggest that the downvoters need to do some research.

            PPE is a 3 year first degree subject comprising politics, philosophy and economics. Clearly you don't do enough of any of them for a vocational qualification. Ed Balls (PPE Keble) then went on to study economics as a Kennedy Scholar. Ed Miliband did his MSc in economics at the LSE. David Cameron, however, did no postgraduate work. Even the Spectator, hardly left wing, published an article in 2014 titled "How an Oxford degree - PPE - created a robotic governing class".

            The ENS is a high level vocational and research establishment offering postgraduate qualifications. It's extremely difficult to get into but offers grants.

            tl;dr what I wrote was correct, much as you may dislike it.

            1. MonkeyCee Silver badge

              Re: @ nagyeger

              I'll just chip in and note that for the PPE you only have to do all three areas for the first year, after that you can drop one. Typically this is economics, since it has the most reading, and involves a different sort of bullshitting.

              Hence why some PPE graduates are still fundamentally economically illiterate, but can make some nice quotes from Adam Smith :)

        2. FrogsAndChips Bronze badge

          Re: @ nagyeger

          The Ecole Normale Supérieure is actually the golden highway for future politicians and high-level functionaries.

          Its primary mission still is to train high-level academics (teachers, researchers), hence the large number of Nobel Prize recipients for the science-oriented ENS. The training of high-level civil servants is more recent.

          Ecole Normale just used to be a generic name for the institutions in charge of forming teachers.

    2. Stork Bronze badge

      Re: Ecole Normale Superieure

      I think it just means higher/upper, not necessarily better. But my French is a bit rusty.

  15. Snow Wombat
    Trollface

    Now do the Media, and Silicon valley CEO's

  16. This post has been deleted by its author

  17. 45RPM Silver badge

    As many others have said (and as the original article said we shouldn’t), if Trump is saying something it’s probably a lie.

    I tried to be a little fairer than that. I actually tried to work out the %truth vs %fiction - and then I realised that a) I have a hangover and concentrating for extended periods isn’t my forte at the moment and b) I can’t be bothered anyway (this may be related to a.)

    I did research for oh, it must be at least 30 seconds before giving up. In that brief period my bleeding heart whining liberal gut (thought I’d better preempt the epithets which a Trumpist would doubtless hurl my way anyway) informed me that it sure feels like more than 90% of what Trump says is bollocks, and the remaining 10% is only partially accurate (and even then only accidentally - I mean, yes, Finland does have a lot of trees)

    So, on the basis of this diligent research, the Twitter Trump bullshit algorithm would better if it was refactored as:

    if (saying_something) {

    lying = true;

    }

  18. Jedit
    Boffin

    "I actually tried to work out the %truth vs %fiction"

    I'm not going to judge your maths, but I'll verify your results. The Washington Post did a check of over 150 statements made by Trump and found that 78% of them were wholly or partially lies. So this computer model is literally less accurate than simply assuming Trump lies all the time.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  19. Shady
    FAIL

    Right or wrong, truth or lie, fact or fiction....

    ... it's all pure, unadulterated bollocks.

  20. John Mangan

    I'm interested in the 'success' rate.

    It's alluded to in the article. Trump's tweets can be inaccurate but he may believe it to be true.

    It's possible that the analysis is 100% accurate and picking out all of the tweets he knows to be a lie.

    There's no information on how many were false positives.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: I'm interested in the 'success' rate.

      "Trump's tweets can be inaccurate but he may believe it to be true."

      Isn't this even more worrying than outright lies?

  21. Rupert Fiennes Bronze badge

    Why no comparison?

    Did the same team run the same analysis on Trump's predecessor? Why not? Surely we need a baseline to compare Trump to?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why no comparison?

      politifact.com have both

      The Donald: true/mostly true 16%, half true 15%, mostly false/false/pants-on-fire 68%

      Obama: true/mostly true 49%, half true 27%, mostly false/false/pants-on-fire 26%

      (Pence is 22%, 31%, 47%)

      1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        Re: Why no comparison?

        At least Pence can add up to 100%.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Why no comparison?

          I agree! Pence adds up to 100% pure, unadulterated, dyed in the wool, stuck in the 1400s. And I don't mean that in a good way. All the worst parts of "religious right", and none of the good bits[0]. He's the very epitome of what the Founding Fathers were trying to get away from.

          [0] There are a few, if you squint and don't allow their .fav shaman to pervert them.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Why no comparison?

      "Why not?"

      Did Trumps predecessor spew tweets at the same rate or try to use them as a mechanism of government? Not doing so makes a comparison impossible.

  22. BebopWeBop Silver badge
    Trollface

    what

    The accuracy of their model was about 73 per cent, making it better than a coin-toss, but far from foolproof in its evaluation.

    What is the accuracy if you default to the line == TRUE position?

  23. Spanners Silver badge
    Boffin

    Could it be...

    Perhaps Agent Orange gets his underlings to compose some of his tweets. Alternatively, does he plagarise a few from someone else?

    Being from more trustworthy sources, they are more likely to be accurate while having some different linguistic features.

  24. r_c_a_d_t

    It looks odd to me that the training data was tweets between Feb 2018 and Apr 2018, but the test data was tweets between Nov 2017 and Jan 2018.

    So they trained with "current data" to predict the past? Isn't that the wrong way round?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Unless the subject is also learning and modifying their behavior it doesn't make any difference.

  25. MunkeeJuice

    Alternative Facts

    How can it possibly spot a lie, he never lies, just uses alternative facts.

  26. chivo243 Silver badge
    Devil

    too much credit

    He doesn't know the difference between truth\reality and false\daydreams. He has graduated from the George Costanza University of lying. If you believe it, it's the truth!

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: too much credit

      This study proves the opposite. If he is using different words when lying then he must, at least subconsciously, know the difference.

      It is the first proof of any sign of intelligence in his twitter stream

      1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

        Not necessarily

        Trump is the bullshitter supreme, but sometimes he'll just be regurgitating boring facts. Against that background the bullshitting is easy to spot, but only for us, not for him. I've known people like Trump and they really do believe that the story they've just concocted out of whole cloth is true simply because it feels true to them.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps this is too obvious...

    ... but statements which are provided to the man by an advisor will be correctly phrased and also truthful, albeit mangled by his orange thumbs. Anything he makes up himself is likely to be poorly formed and also a lie.

    => is it not that the algorithm is in fact simply picking up the actual source of the information?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Known biased enemies

    It really doesn't matter when your "fact" checkers are known to be your sworn enemies.

    Does anyone think that Bezos bought the WP because he thought newspapers were going to be resurgent and profitable? If Trump said water was wet, they'd find a problem with it - because of course, much outside the 0-100C range, it isn't.

    You're all letting someone you're calling a combination of a liar and a moron captivate all of your attention. Pretty obvious who is controlling that situation, and it ain't you. Laughter works better

    in most cases - look how the NPC mene set people on fire.

    I see a lot of emotion here and not much rationality. Does it make everyone feel good to simply hate with no effect? Just like very little of what people flame on about has actually affected anyone's daily life who wasn't being bombed - and the current moron is barely making the average body count compared to the last few as far as that one goes. Oh, I get it - hating on someone else gives you someone to blame everything on, especially including your own failings. Self-absolution is a hell of a drug.

    ALL pols lie, including the current subject, and they do it all the time. Further, pol-speak is good at appearing to tell you what you wanted to hear without even lying - you have to learn to parse carefully.

    I'd think any adult would have figured that out long since.

    I'd have thought better of the commentards here, most of whom appear to at least be literate and knowledgeable. I guess that knowledge doesn't include much insight into how the "game" is played.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Known biased enemies

      Literate and knowledgeable generally applies to WaPo writers and readers too, from what I have seen.

  29. ShortStuff

    Using the Washington Post, the most dishonest newspaper in the world (next to the NYT) as the fact checker gives this article ZERO credibility. The rest of the world is just jealous because they have soy boy and feminist leaders and wish they had a leader such as Trump. You can fall into your failing Globalist societies and continue being sheep to your political masters, or join the Nationalist (anti-globalist) revolution and take back control from your unelected (EU, UN) puppet masters.

    1. 45RPM Silver badge

      Hey ShortStuff. Did you hear that “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt.”

      It’s worth bearing in mind before regurgitating nonsense from Fox / Trump / other unpleasant sources from beneath other slimy rocks.

      And can I recommend that you consider taking a course in critical thinking?

    2. RobertLongshaft

      Shortstuff - you're absolutely right.

      Can you imagine Trump negotiating Brexit? We'd have the best of both worlds. Instead we have Cruella DeVill who bent over and asked Juncker to lube the dildo before he had his way.

      Lefties hate Trump because he doesn't bow down to their ultra politically correct line, he gets the job done and he doesn't care who he upsets to do it. This helped him to become a self made billionaire and his now helping him to become the greatest President in living memory.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Bad troll.

        No cookie.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "This helped him to become a self made billionaire"

        Daddy made him the self-made millionaire.

        "helping him to become the greatest President in living memory""

        Many people would tend to replace the word 'president' with something more earthy... but he's certainly going to be remembered

  30. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Too much LOVE can kill you, they say. Who knows?

    Are his lies others' tales he doesn't believe possible/doable?

    Does every President have many voices bending their ear to Attend to the InSanities of Life with Wondrous Thought Tales Seeding and Feeding Future Featuring Programming with Advanced IntelAIgent Virtual Machines, Fully Loded and Ready for AIdDistribution of Improved Reconditioned Assets with Universally Vital Forces into and onto Practical Future Fields in Real Time Play Operations?

    Anyone deeply captured and championing Starships?

    And Who/What Programs the MayBot? What Magic Elixir of Source Ore Provides Indecisive Direction Absenting Decisions Requiring Secret Ancient Accommodation be made there in Nos 10/11?

    It's badly tainted and sorely paints everything and anything other than AIMaster Pieces to Follow. Such is Remiss and Only Excused with a Full and Frank Confession Detailing Ignorance. Anything else just Compounds All and Leaves Raging and Rabid Incompetence looking into New Virgin Pastures for Accommodative Play in Real Time Play Operations. That's a Trip both into and out of Asylums best booked Return/Open Ticket ..... for Insatiable Delights are Virtually Impossible to Leave without Practical Consideration of Providing the Same Super Service Back Home, .... wherever that may be in your head.

    1. TomG

      Re: Too much LOVE can kill you, they say. Who knows?

      Downvoted You because You Made Too Much/Not Enough Sense. BTW, I Hope You Didn't Wear Out Your Caps Lock Key!

  31. FrogsAndChips Bronze badge

    "anyone could use this approach to construct a lie detector for a specific person"

    I'm not worried, all my public statements are lies anyway.

  32. gal5

    ..And yet, he keeps making tood trade deals with the rest of the world, progressing with N. Korea..

    When did it become a demand, that your country's leader is not allowed to use tricks and deceptions to get its goals? would YOU ever agree to negotiate a deal by telling, in advance, all the facts and truths? Is so, I'd really like to buy your used car... I'd simply ask you what is your 'red line' price, you you would, of courses, tell me the truth, because that is what you demand from political enemies?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Which good trade deals? Quit believing his BS.

  33. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Trump lies, knows he lies and doesn't give a fuck about it. He knows that the people who believe him already live in an alternate reality. If he claimed there's an ongoing attack from Moon inhabitants, the Trumpists would unload their AR-15 shooting at the Moon.

    What matters to him is being acclaimed by some, even if it means being considered idiotic and unreliable by most. That guy is like a 5-year old in need of constant attention, he will do anything to get the spotlight.

    If newspapers were stopping talking about him for a week, he would declare war to China just to be in the headlines again.

  34. TheMole

    Poacher turned Gamekeeper ?

    "the researchers used a set of tweets from President Trump that had been fact checked by the Washington Post and could be characterized either as accurate or not. "

    The Washington Post regularly prints misleading, slanted or even innacurate articles itself. So using them as the arbiter is kinda dumb.

  35. RobertLongshaft

    Yet more anti Trump drivel masquerading as journalism.

    Have a day off, seriously.

    1. Tomato42 Silver badge

      1940's want their devotion to the Füher back

  36. Jamie Jones Silver badge
    Unhappy

    "free democratic society"?

    <dream>

    Is it really too much to expect a political system where if any politician is found to have lied, they are automatically sacked, and if the lie has caused financial losses, sued for them?

    You'll laugh, because it sounds like cloud-cuckoo land, but that's because we are so used to the status quo.

    If I lied to my bosses in work, I'd be sacked. If I was willfully neglegent, I could be sued.

    Clearly the "leave it to the ballot box" philosophy doesn't work - people have short memories, and are easily "spun", and easily attracted to the shiny-shiny... Heck, if someone is sacked from their job, they could still try again in the next 4 year election cycle.. Let's see the populace short memory work against them..

    Whether its americas trumpites, or our own brexiters, some people need help understanding the truth.

    We deserve better than being governed by the best liars.

    </dream>

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Correlation

    It's easy.

    If he is told what to write, probably more truthful. Language set 1.

    If he writes it himself, probably "economical with the truth". Language set 2.

    Duh!

  38. EnviableOne Bronze badge
    Boffin

    Lies Damn Lies and Statistics

    Ben franklin had it right

    this model is based of incomplete evidence and assumed facts.

    There is no measure of how many tweets WaPo were not able to verify, no mention of how many were factually correct, and it only used 150 sets of max 280 chars, hardly enough to eet any criteria for a robust test, and the training sample bias needs to be scrutanised, and probably needs to include a much larger sample too.

  39. AvangionQ
    Boffin

    Refinement requested ...

    When they get up over 90%, it'll be something worthwhile ... `The accuracy of their model was about 73 percent, making it better than a coin-toss, but far from foolproof in its evaluation.`

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Two Tweeters

    It was shown during the 2016 campaign that there were two phones tweeting as @realdonaldtrump, an iPhone and an android. The iPhone ones were rational, thoughtful and well written. The Android ones were trash, lies and fractured English. Hair furor himself carries an Android phone so it was posited that the reasonable tweets were done by staff. I'd like to see an overlay of this linguistic work on that tidbit; I bet we they could do better than 73%

  41. RobertLongshaft

    Lefties are hilarious!

    They accuse any none NPC of being brainwashed by Fox News but they are literally regurgitating what they hear or read on the BBC/CNN/NYT or the Guardian.

    "Orange man bad, Orange man bad, Orange man bad"

    Regardless of what you think or say the stats show he's a million miles better as a President than Barack "no change at all is coming" Obama.

    Let's just take a second to remind you all of Obama's legacy......

    Record numbers on food stamps, record low GDP growth, record number of drone assassinations, destablisation of the middle east and creation of the European migrant crisis, record number of privacy reducing bills passed, the CIA and MI5 using each other to bypass the constitution and British law recording and logging everything every man woman and child does in the UK and US do and on and on and on and on............

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