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Consumers reach out via social media regarding auto defects

Consumers rely on the Internet more than ever for information about product safety, reliability and how to react to defective products. But a new study shows that they can also be providers of valuable information for manufacturers, especially when it comes to motor vehicles.

Consumers use traditional online media like feedback forms and emails to communicate about products, share their thoughts and register complaints. In recent years, they have also increasingly used social media like bulletin boards, blogs, and Twitter for similar purposes.

"A lot of useful but hidden data on vehicle quality is embedded in social media that is largely untapped by auto manufacturers," said one professor involved in the study. For example, a motorist might post a complaint about an auto defect on Facebook or ask their Twitter followers how to handle a certain equipment problem.

In response to the findings, one researcher designed a "vehicle defect discovery system," which detects vehicle defects using a variety of sources. The system can detect potential defects across multiple automotive brands and social media platforms.

This information could benefit not only automakers who want to be aware of defects, but also consumers who may unknowingly be using defective products. Knowing about any potential risks or problems associated with a vehicle could help motorists prevent serious accidents or injuries.

If you or a loved one have sustained an injury caused by a dangerous product, consider speaking with a personal injury attorney experienced in product defect matters. They may be able to help seek compensation for any injuries or damages.

Source: UPI, "Social media could reveal auto problems," Oct. 24, 2012

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