Fake News Detection on Twitter Using Propagation Structures

Marion Meyers*, Gerhard Weiss, Gerasimos Spanakis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingAcademicpeer-review

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The growth of social media has revolutionized the way people access information. Although platforms like Facebook and Twitter allow for a quicker, wider and less restricted access to information, they also consist of a breeding ground for the dissemination of fake news. Most of the existing literature on fake news detection on social media proposes user-based or content-based approaches. However, recent research revealed that real and fake news also propagate significantly differently on Twitter. Nonetheless, only a few articles so far have explored the use of propagation features in their detection. Additionally, most of them have based their analysis on a narrow tweet retrieval methodology that only considers tweets to be propagating a news piece if they explicitly contain an URL link to an online news article. By basing our analysis on a broader tweet retrieval methodology that also allows tweets without an URL link to be considered as propagating a news piece, we contribute to fill this research gap and further confirm the potential of using propagation features to detect fake news on Twitter. We firstly show that real news are significantly bigger in size, are spread by users with more followers and less followings, and are actively spread on Twitter for a longer period of time than fake news. Secondly, we achieve an 87% accuracy using a Random Forest Classifier solely trained on propagation features. Lastly, we design a Geometric Deep Learning approach to the problem by building a graph neural network that directly learns on the propagation graphs and achieve an accuracy of 73.3%.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDisinformation in Open Online Media. MISDOOM 2020
EditorsMax van Duijn, Mike Preuss, Viktoria Spaiser, Frank Takes, Suzan Verberne
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer, Cham
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-61841-4
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-61840-7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

Publication series

SeriesLecture Notes in Computer Science


  • Fake news
  • Twitter
  • Propagation

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