skip to main content


Title: A Multi-Feature Diffusion Model: Rumor Blocking in Social Networks
Online social networks provide a convenient platform for the spread of rumors, which could lead to serious aftermaths such as economic losses and public panic. The classical rumor blocking problem aims to launch a set of nodes as a positive cascade to compete with misinformation in order to limit the spread of rumors. However, most of the related researches were based on a one-dimensional diffusion model. In reality, there is more than one feature associated with an object. A user’s impression on this object is determined not just by one feature but by her overall evaluation of all features associated with it. Thus, the influence spread of this object can be decomposed into the spread of multiple features. Based on that, we design a multi-feature diffusion model (MF-model) in this paper and formulate a multi-feature rumor blocking (MFRB) problem on a multi-layer network structure according to this model. To solve the MFRB problem, we design a creative sampling method called Multi-Sampling, which can be applied to this multi-layer network structure. Then, we propose a Revised-IMM algorithm and obtain a satisfactory approximate solution to MFRB. Finally, we evaluate our proposed algorithm by conducting experiments on real datasets, which shows the effectiveness of our Revised- IMM and its advantage to their baseline algorithms.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1907472
NSF-PAR ID:
10280177
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking
ISSN:
1063-6692
Page Range / eLocation ID:
1 to 12
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Information and content can spread in social networks analogous to how diseases spread between organisms. Identifying the source of an outbreak is challenging when the infection times are unknown. We consider the problem of detecting the source of a rumor that spread randomly in a network according to a simple diffusion model, the susceptible-infected (SI) exponential time model. The infection times are unknown. Only the set of nodes that propagated the rumor before a certain time is known. Since evaluating the likelihood of spreads is computationally prohibitive, we propose a simple and efficient procedure to approximate the likelihood and select a candidate rumor source. We empirically demonstrate our method out-performs the Jordan center procedure in various random graphs and a real-world network. 
    more » « less
  2. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Social media have emerged as increasingly popular means and environments for information gathering and propagation. This vigorous growth of social media contributed not only to a pandemic (fast-spreading and far-reaching) of rumors and misinformation, but also to an urgent need for text-based rumor detection strategies. To speed up the detection of misinformation, traditional rumor detection methods based on hand-crafted feature selection need to be replaced by automatic artificial intelligence (AI) approaches. AI decision making systems require to provide explanations in order to assure users of their trustworthiness. Inspired by the thriving development of generative adversarial networks (GANs) on text applications, we propose a GAN-based layered model for rumor detection with explanations. To demonstrate the universality of the proposed approach, we demonstrate its benefits on a gene classification with mutation detection case study. Similarly to the rumor detection, the gene classification can also be formulated as a text-based classification problem. Unlike fake news detection that needs a previously collected verified news database, our model provides explanations in rumor detection based on tweet-level texts only without referring to a verified news database. The layered structure of both generative and discriminative models contributes to the outstanding performance. The layered generators produce rumors by intelligently inserting controversial information in non-rumors, and force the layered discriminators to detect detailed glitches and deduce exactly which parts in the sentence are problematic. On average, in the rumor detection task, our proposed model outperforms state-of-the-art baselines on PHEME dataset by $$26.85\%$$ 26.85 % in terms of macro-f1. The excellent performance of our model for textural sequences is also demonstrated by the gene mutation case study on which it achieves $$72.69\%$$ 72.69 % macro-f1 score. 
    more » « less
  3. Social networks are frequently polluted by rumors, which can be detected by advanced models such as graph neural networks. However, the models are vulnerable to attacks, and discovering and understanding the vulnerabilities is critical to robust rumor detection. To discover subtle vulnerabilities, we design a attacking algorithm based on reinforcement learning to camouflage rumors against black-box detectors. We address exponentially large state spaces, high-order graph dependencies, and ranking dependencies, which are unique to the problem setting but fundamentally challenging for the state-of-the-art end-to-end approaches. We design domain-specific features that have causal effect on the reward, so that even a linear policy can arrive at powerful attacks with additional interpretability. To speed up policy optimization, we devise: (i) a credit assignment method that proportionally decomposes delayed and aggregated rewards to atomic attacking actions for enhance feature-reward associations; (ii) a time-dependent control variate to reduce prediction variance due to large state-action spaces and long attack horizon, based on reward variance analysis and a Bayesian analysis of the prediction distribution. On two real world datasets of rumor detection tasks, we demonstrate: (i) the effectiveness of the learned attacking policy on a wide spectrum of target models compared to both rule-based and end-to-end attacking approaches; (ii) the usefulness of the proposed credit assignment strategy and variance reduction components; (iii) the interpretability of the attacking policy. 
    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    Despite the prominence of rumor spreading in early adolescence, little research has examined the features of rumors during this developmental period. To address this gap in the literature, we analyzed rumor reports in a longitudinal study from fifth to seventh grades to identify subtypes of rumor content and to investigate gender and grade differences, the social impact of rumors, and victims’ social status across rumor content. In seventh grade, a higher proportion of girls were victims of sexual activity rumors whereas a higher proportion of boys were victims of sexual orientation rumors. There were significantly more sexual activity rumors in seventh grade than fifth and sixth grade. In sixth and seventh grade, sexual activity rumors had higher social impact compared to all other rumors. Higher social status was found for victims of romantic rumors in fifth grade, for victims of personal/physical characteristics rumors in sixth grade, and for victims of sexual activity rumors in seventh grade. These findings provide critical insight into rumors across early adolescence and add to growing evidence that victims of aggressive behavior may have high social status. The importance of incorporating multiple methods for assessing victimization and implications for awareness of rumor spreading are discussed.

     
    more » « less
  5. As the internet and social media continue to become increasingly used for sharing break- ing news and important updates, it is with great motivation to study the behaviors of online users during crisis events. One of the biggest issues with obtaining information online is the veracity of such content. Given this vulnerability, misinformation becomes a very danger- ous and real threat when spread online. This study investigates misinformation debunking efforts and fills the research gap on cross-platform information sharing when misinforma- tion is spread during disasters. The false rumor “immigration status is checked at shelters” spread in both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma in 2017 and was analyzed in this paper based on a collection of 12,900 tweets. By studying the rumor control efforts made by thousands of accounts, we found that Twitter users respond and interact the most with tweets from verified Twitter accounts, and especially government organizations. Results on sourcing analysis show that the majority of Twitter users who utilize URLs in their post- ings are employing the information in the URLs to help debunk the false rumor. The most frequently cited information comes from news agencies when analyzing both URLs and domains. This paper provides novel insights into rumor control efforts made through social media during natural disasters and also the information sourcing and sharing behaviors that users exhibit during the debunking of false rumors. 
    more » « less