News Column

Social Media Could Reveal Auto Problems

Oct. 24, 2012
Social Media

Drivers posting to social media websites could help auto manufacturers find and identify vehicle defects, U.S. researchers say.

Researchers at Virginia Tech's Pamplin College of Business suggest social media postings by consumers can be a source of useful information about vehicle safety and performance defects.

Consumers rely heavily on the Internet for information about automobile safety and reliability, the researchers said, but in addition to being consumers of such information automobile users are also producers of such data, using traditional Internet media such as emails or online forms and, increasingly, social media tools such as bulletin boards, blogs, and Twitter.

"A lot of useful but hidden data on vehicle quality is embedded in social media that is largely untapped by auto manufacturers," said Alan Abrahams, assistant professor of business information technology.

The researchers say they've developed and tested a system that can be used to discover vehicle defects from social media posts across multiple automotive brands.

"Vehicle quality management professionals would greatly benefit in terms of productivity by employing a vehicle defect discovery system like ours to sift defects from unrelated posts," Abrahams said.

Source: Copyright United Press International 2012

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