A French company has come up with a tool to tell if a person commenting on a post is being sarcastic.
Sarcasm is an art form which was never exported to the European colonies until the 18th century, which has meant the puritans who settled in the US had no supply of their own.
Now French company, Spotter, has developed an analytics tool which it thinks will help out.
Spotter says its clients include the Home Office, EU Commission and Dubai Courts where it is really important to tell if someone is being sarcastic.
According to the BBC the algorithm-based analytics software generates reputation reports based on social and traditional media material.
Spotter’s UK sales director, Richard May, said the software uses a combination of linguistics, semantics and heuristics to create algorithms that generate reports about online reputation.
It claims it is able to identify sentiment with up to an 80 percent accuracy rate.
The algorithms had been developed to reflect various tones in 29 different languages including Chinese, Russian and Arabic.
He said that while it was still not fool proof it could at least spot sarcasm better than someone from the Bible Belt.
“But five years ago you couldn’t get this level of accuracy – we were at the 50 per cent mark,” he told the Beeb.
One of the most common subjects for sarcasm was bad service, such as delayed journeys.
One of his clients is Air France. If someone has a delayed flight, they will tweet, ‘Thanks Air France for getting us into London two hours late’. For a while now the computer would have thought the passenger was thanking them.
Spotter charged a minimum of £1,000 per month for its services, which sounds like money well spent.
It would be handy for Americans visiting Rome who are always told that they are shy and retiring and much more historically aware than other visitors to the Italian capital.