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ICHEC and NewsWhip take on Viral stories

Posted on 10 July 2014

ICHEC and new media start-up NewsWhip Media Ltd collaborated on a project funded by Enterprise Ireland to assess if viral stories can be accurately identified within their first hour of publication, where the “social velocity” of news stories is measured by a metric developed by NewsWhip Media Ltd.

The objective of the collaboration, was to evaluate the accuracy of the predictive value within the NewsWhip's Spike 1 hour scoring model. “ Understanding NewsWhip business model allowed us to fully capture the technical requirements needed to carry out this validation. " pointed out Nicola McDonnell, Project Manager at the Irish Centre for High-End Computing (ICHEC).

The NewsWhip scoring model selects the stories that demonstrate a good performance in terms of social shares within the first hour after publication. Working closely with the team at NewWhip, ICHEC collected scores for over 123,022 stories, analysing the data performance to track the impact of each story over time, using Spike’s 24 hour scoring as the benchmark. This scoring contains all the most viral stories for the past 24 hours.  NewsWhip’s Spike platform is used by news companies big and small, including Bloomberg, BBC and BuzzFeed. Our approach allowed us to determine how many of the stories that have been picked out as “viral stories” in the Spike 1 hour did make it to 24 hour ” said Dr. Bruno Voisin, Data Architect at ICHEC.
The outcome of the work conducted by the team at ICHEC found a high degree of predictive accuracy in Spike 1 Hour, identifying around 79% of the biggest, most viral stories - which were evident in Spike’s 24 hour model. Stories that would achieve mid size viral success were also accurately picked out, with lower scores. “ The results does suggest that the social sharing around a story in its first hour after publication is highly predictive of how big it will eventually become at a later stage. " suggested Dr. Kashif Iqbal, Senior Software Developer at ICHEC.
The next phase of work promises to further tune the accuracy of the Spike1 model, where the partners look to apply innovative Machine learning models and algorithms. “ The effectiveness and efficiency of the expertise and specialist capability available at ICHEC has played a major role in successfully delivering these results. " said Paul Quigley, CEO NewsWhip Media Ltd. ” We enjoyed a very successful engagement with ICHEC, and look forward to continue working together in the future. ” he concluded.

Speaking about the project, Sufian Al Aswad, Business Development and Industry Liaison at ICHEC, highlighted the benefits of the support programmes provided by Enterprise Ireland. “ Our active SME programme, enables us to collaborate with companies from various sectors on innovative projects. ” he said. “ The programme provide SMEs access to cutting edge technology and high level of expertise, in addition to the funding and business mentoring provided by Enterprise Ireland, all of which sets the desired environment for Irish companies to achieve their objectives and targets for growth.

The strory has also been reported at:


NewsWhip also published a story on their blog:



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