March 27, 2017, by Stuart Moran

Classifying and verifying fake news in social media

Helen Creswick, Christian Karner and Martin Flintham are currently working on an interdisciplinary research project looking at fake news in social media.

A literature review is currently underway and two key taxonomy’s have emerged around types of fake news and categories of verification.

Rubin et al (2017) argue that there are three types of ‘fake’ news:

  1. Serious fabrication: referring to the sensationalising or exaggerations of events.
  2. Large-scale hoaxes: where audiences are deliberately deceived about a news story.
  3. Humorous fakes: which is distinguished from serious fabrications by the humorous nature of the story.

Liu et al (2015) propose six categories of verification of the authenticity of a tweet:

  1. Source Credibility: trusted account, url or application name
  2. Source Identity: profile name, location, professional information
  3. Source Diversity: Multiple non-news urls
  4. Source Location & Witness: matched location for tweet and profile
  5. Message Belief: support, negation, question or neutrality
  6. Event Propagation: retweet, mention, hashtag h-index

These will both act as a foundation for a framework for classifying the characteristics of fake news. This framework will be used to structure our investigation into user’s perceptions and decisions regarding the veracity of digital news articles. Next steps for the project are to design a series of studies to explore instances of fake news in users news feeds.


Next blog in series: Surveying traditional and digital consumption of fake news

Stuart Moran, Digital Research Specialist for Social Sciences


Liu, X., Nourbakhsh, A., Li, Q., Fang, R & Shah, S (2015).  ‘Real-time Rumor Debunking on Twitter’.  Proceedings of the 24th ACM International on Conference on Information and Knowledge Management, 2015 Melbourne, Australia, ACM, 1867-1870. DOI: 10.1145/2806416.2806651

Rubin, V L .  ‘Deception Detection and Rumor Debunking for Social Media’, in Sloan, L & Quan-Haase, A, Handbook of Social Media Research Methods, London, UK, Sage.


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