Reuters has developed a tool capable of automatically detecting and verifying breaking news on Twitter, in an attempt to report on events more rapidly and accurately. The tool, known as Reuters News Tracer, has been developed over the past two years, but Reuters only made it public this week, in interviews with the Columbia Journalism Review and Nieman Lab.
News Tracer analyzes tweets in real-time, filtering out spam and grouping similar tweets into “clusters” based on similar words. The tool then classifies the clusters into topics and generates short summaries about each one. Tweets with the words “bomb” or “explosion,” for example, might be grouped under a terrorist attack cluster.
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