Social networks pose some interesting issues related to communication: tweets and statuses persist beyond the initial sentiment, are often exposed to large groups of people, and lack cues that help determine in what way a statement is meant. As such, certain statements said in jest could land the ones who shared them in hot water.
There have been many instances of people getting in trouble after firing off a tweet in haste expressing their frustrations or humor using fictional threats (some less amusing than others). The government has no humor, however, and such tweets could mean a visit from some less-than-amused agents.
The Secret Service is apparently looking to avoid such scenarios in the future, with a work order recently posted online revealing a request for -- among other things -- software that can detect sarcasm and "false positives"; that is, "threats" that are merely jokes.
The sarcasm detector would be only one small part of a larger software package that gathers data on social statuses, particularly tweets, among a variety of topics. The detector, in particular, will be automated.
SOURCE: The Washington Post