Program analyses tweets to assess the public mood

A computer program could help to calm civil unrest and identify early threats to public safety by analysing postings on Twitter and assessing public mood, academics have said.

The system can analyse up to 2,000 tweets a second to extract from each a direct expression of one of eight basic emotions: anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, surprise, shame, and confusion.

The team at Loughborough University in Britain, who developed the program, have said it could be possible to use the complex software, named the Emotive program, to geographically map the emotional mood of the nation.

More than 500m people across the world use Twitter, and more than 340m tweets are posted daily.

It is a form of social media that, like others such as Facebook and messenger systems, was criticised for aiding rioters in organising the unrest that swept the UK in the summer of 2011.

Academics said using the Emotive software to geographically evaluate any mass mood could help police to track potential criminal behaviour or threats to public safety.

The system is currently only being used to analyse tweets in the UK, but can be scaled up to monitor tweets globally, of which there are 10,000 a second.

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