Rumor Gauge: Automatic Detection and Verification of Rumors on Twitter



Soroush Vosoughi

The spread of malicious or accidental misinformation in social media, especially in time-sensitive situations, such as real-world emergencies, can have harmful effects on individuals and society. In this work, we developed models for automated verification of rumors (unverified information) that propagate through Twitter. To predict the veracity of rumors, we identified salient features of rumors by examining three aspects of information spread: linguistic style used to express rumors, characteristics of people involved in propagating information, and network propagation dynamics. The predicted veracity of a time series of these features extracted from a rumor (a collection of tweets) is generated using Hidden Markov Models. The verification algorithm was trained and tested on 209 rumors representing 938,806 tweets collected from real-world events, including the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, the 2014 Ferguson unrest, and the 2014 Ebola epidemic, and many other rumors about various real-world events reported on popular websites that document public rumors. The algorithm was able to correctly predict the veracity of 75% of the rumors faster than any other public source, including journalists and law enforcement officials. The ability to track rumors and predict their outcomes may have practical applications for news consumers, financial markets, journalists, and emergency services, and more generally to help minimize the impact of false information on Twitter.

Research Topics
#social media