21.02.2022 change 21.02.2022

RPaSDT to track sources of fake news

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Identifying the source of malicious content, its source of propagation, is crucial for reducing online disinformation. A similar mechanism allows, for example, to identify patient zero at the beginning of an epidemic. RPaSDT (Rumor Propagation and Source Detection Toolkit) allows to determine the source of fake news come from and how they spread in social media.

The author of the program is Damian Frąszczak, a doctoral candidate at the Military University of Technology doctoral college, who presented it in an article in SoftwareX, a Science group journal. The researcher specialises in modelling social networks and propagation and identification of fake news.

'Social media users, a huge number of people and organizations, eagerly share information about their lives, business, travel and views. As a result, social networks have become a precious and at the same time free data source for advertising agencies that tailor advertisements to user preferences', says Damian Frąszczak.

The doctoral candidate emphasizes that the emergence of online social networks services changed the world. New models of interpersonal communication replaced traditional forms of communication. For most people, social media platforms are the main source of information.

'Social media can be used to warn people about dangerous situations or raise money rebounds for a good cause. However, they also offer an excellent opportunity to spread disinformation easily, fast and almost for free. Fake news affect various aspects of life, for example election results, material situation and mental condition of users', the researcher says.

Damian Frąszczak's research shows that while many ways of determining the 'source of propagation' have been developed, it is difficult to reliably compare these solutions and choose the best of them because there is no 'testing ground' for researchers. According to the author, RPaSDT can be used for this purpose.

In his article, Frąszczak presents an easy-to-use IT toolkit that allows to identify 'sources of propagation'. The software supports the processes of analysis, evaluation and visualization of social networks, as well as comparing the effectiveness of various sources identification methods. Research can be carried out in opposite problems, i.e. on the basis of a given network (output situation), identify nodes, from which propagation will cover all nodes in the network in the shortest time.

The promoters of Damian Frąszczak's doctorate are Dr. Ryszard Antkiewicz and Dr. Mariusz Chmielewski. The article 'RPaSDT – Rumor Propagation and Source Detection Toolkit' was published in SoftwareX in January 2022.

PAP - Science in Poland, Karolina Duszczyk

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