This paper develops and evaluates algorithms for exploiting physical constraints to improve the reliability of social sensing. Social sensing refers to applications where a group of sources (e.g., individuals and their mobile devices) volunteer to collect observations about the physical world. A key challenge in social sensing is that the reliability of sources and their devices is generally unknown, which makes it non-trivial to assess the correctness of collected observations. To solve this problem, the paper adopts a cyber-physical approach, where assessment of correctness of individual observations is aided by knowledge of physical constraints on both sources and observed variables to compensate for the lack of information on source reliability. We cast the problem as one of maximum likelihood estimation. The goal is to jointly estimate both (i) the latent physical state of the observed environment, and (ii) the inferred reliability of individual sources such that they are maximally consistent with both provenance information (who claimed what) and physical constraints. We evaluate the new framework through a real-world social sensing application. The results demonstrate significant performance gains in estimation accuracy of both source reliability and observation correctness. © 2013 IEEE.