November 29, 2020

Report: “Tricking Fake News Detectors with Malicious User Comments”

From Penn St. University:

Fake news detectors, which have been deployed by social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to add warnings to misleading posts, have traditionally flagged online articles as false based on the story’s headline or content. However, recent approaches have considered other signals, such as network features and user engagements, in addition to the story’s content to boost their accuracies.

However, new research from a team at Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology shows how these fake news detectors can be manipulated through user comments to flag true news as false and false news as true. This attack approach could give adversaries the ability to influence the detector’s assessment of the story even if they are not the story’s original author.

“Our model does not require the adversaries to modify the target article’s title or content,” explained Thai Le, lead author of the paper and doctoral student in the College of IST. “Instead, adversaries can easily use random accounts on social media to post malicious comments to either demote a real story as fake news or promote a fake story as real news.”

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

Share