On March 8, Royal Carribean's share prices fell 2.9 percent after news emerged of an outbreak of norovirus on one of its ships. But one company's clients found out about the situation 48 minutes before the news broke officially: Dataminr's algorithms detected an initial tweet reporting the issue and alerted its clients in time to save at least one of them money before the news brought the cruise company's share prices down.
Dataminr is a social analytics company that uses refined algorithms to detect news events before they go viral on Twitter. Rather than follow the feeds of a limited number of users, Dataminr has access to the entire catalogue of tweets from Twitter's roughly 200 million active users, and its algorithms scan users' tweets and determine their relative influence on particular topics.
In the case of the Royal Caribbean virus outbreak, ”We detected a slight blip, linguistically,” said Dataminr founder and CEO Ted Bailey. “And we saw that the source who published it was one that had local influence.”
Dataminr's clients hail from finance, government, and the corporate world. In an age when a single tweet, like the fake AP message that briefly sent the stock market into a frenzy earlier this week, can threaten a financial system, the ability to cut out the noise and get the important information is crucial for the company's customers. And with its government clients, Dataminr is currently hiring three government-focused employees. As we have seen in recent years, Twitter has the power to influence not only financial markets but also political uprisings. Governments will no doubt want to know about news before it breaks too.