A multi-layer approach to disinformation detection on Twitter

by   Francesco Pierri, et al.

We tackle the problem of classifying news articles pertaining to disinformation vs mainstream news by solely inspecting their diffusion mechanisms on Twitter. Our technique is inherently simple compared to existing text-based approaches, as it allows to by-pass the multiple levels of complexity which are found in news content (e.g. grammar, syntax, style). We employ a multi-layer representation of Twitter diffusion networks, and we compute for each layer a set of global network features which quantify different aspects of the sharing process. Experimental results with two large-scale datasets, corresponding to diffusion cascades of news shared respectively in the United States and Italy, show that a simple Logistic Regression model is able to classify disinformation vs mainstream networks with high accuracy (AUROC up to 94 different sources in the classification task. We also highlight differences in the sharing patterns of the two news domains which appear to be country-independent. We believe that our network-based approach provides useful insights which pave the way to the future development of a system to detect misleading and harmful information spreading on social media.


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