Surveying the Research on Fake News in Social Media: a Tale of Networks and Language

by   Giancarlo Ruffo, et al.

The history of journalism and news diffusion is tightly coupled with the effort to dispel hoaxes, misinformation, propaganda, unverified rumours, poor reporting, and messages containing hate and divisions. With the explosive growth of online social media and billions of individuals engaged with consuming, creating, and sharing news, this ancient problem has surfaced with a renewed intensity threatening our democracies, public health, and news outlets credibility. This has triggered many researchers to develop new methods for studying, understanding, detecting, and preventing fake-news diffusion; as a consequence, thousands of scientific papers have been published in a relatively short period, making researchers of different disciplines to struggle in search of open problems and most relevant trends. The aim of this survey is threefold: first, we want to provide the researchers interested in this multidisciplinary and challenging area with a network-based analysis of the existing literature to assist them with a visual exploration of papers that can be of interest; second, we present a selection of the main results achieved so far adopting the network as an unifying framework to represent and make sense of data, to model diffusion processes, and to evaluate different debunking strategies. Finally, we present an outline of the most relevant research trends focusing on the moving target of fake-news, bots, and trolls identification by means of data mining and text technologies; despite scholars working on computational linguistics and networks traditionally belong to different scientific communities, we expect that forthcoming computational approaches to prevent fake news from polluting the social media must be developed using hybrid and up-to-date methodologies.


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