The Works’ new study reveals: Australian women are the biggest liars on social media platforms

While everyone has probably been guilty of exaggeration or telling the odd white lie, a new study has found that Australian women are more deceitful than men when it comes to what they say on social media.The Deceit Algorithm, truth, lies and brand trust in social media research carried out by Sydney advertising agency The Works found that 64% of women compared to 36% of men were found to have made embellished or deceitful statements when writing Twitter and Instagram posts.

But while women overall were found to lie more often, men from some capitals of the country are also guilty of telling untruths.

Adelaide men come out on top as the biggest liars on Instagram, followed by Sydney men. In third place Adelaide women were found to make the most deceitful statements on the photo and video-sharing platform, while Melbourne women were the least deceptive.

The Works analytics team together with Dr. Suresh Sood, brand data scientist at UTS Business School, University of Technology Sydney created an algorithm that analysed thousands of words used in Twitter and Instagram posts from across the country. The algorithm uses 4,553 indicators and classifies them into categories allowing a score to be given to any social media post. This score indicates the presence of deceit and by aggregating these scores trend patterns are detected.Douglas Nicol, creative partner at The Works and leader of the Datafication project explained the words we use when posting to social media are indicators to our truthfulness or otherwise.

Says Nicol: “If we use the pronouns ‘I’ or ‘me’ we are less likely to be by lying as we subconsciously distance ourselves from what we know to be a lie, but certain words and when they are used in combination with others, are a good indication of deceit.”

Nicol said it was critical for marketers and brands to understand the factors that will get them believed as building trust delivers more customers, purchase frequency and bigger spend.

Says Nicol: “Marketers get hot and sweaty about building positive sentiment for their brand on social media, they want you to like and trust their brand but there is a real fear that they will get it wrong. By understanding why people are deceitful it can help when it comes to developing strategies to effectively communicate and respond to consumers that are engaging with brands through social media.”

The study looked at two types of lies in social posts. White lies or embellishment and true lies or deceit.

While there was no discernible deceit practised by Aussies using Twitter, women in Perth led the pack when it came to embellishing their posts, followed by Brisbane men, Adelaide women and Brisbane women.

Says Nicol on the reasons why people are deceitful: “There are many reasons why we lie in social media. White lies are used to manage our own personal brand, to make a good story a great one, or stroke our own egos. However when it comes to truly lying the reasons are more sinister. People make false statements to gain privileges from brands they otherwise wouldn’t get, such as complaining about airlines, hotels or restaurants in order to be compensated, or to gain social power as well as trying to elevate their own importance.”

International research has found that we are lied to up to 200 times a day with deceitful behaviour beginning as young as six-months-old when babies cry or laugh in order to get what they want.

This is the fifth year of The Works’ big data analytics project, called Datafication, into how Australians use social media and what it means for marketers. Previous years have examined Twitter, Instragram and social video.

5 Leaders of Deceit on Instagram
1.    Adelaide Men
2.   Sydney Men
3.   Adelaide Women
4.   Melbourne Women
5.    Brisbane Men

5 Leaders of Embellishment on Twitter
1.    Perth Women
2.   Brisbane Men
3.   Adelaide Women
4.   Brisbane Women
5.    Melbourne Women

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