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Tracking Misinformation Campaigns in Real-Time Is Possible, Study Shows


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Identifying the puppetmaster in misinformation campaigns.

The researchers found their model was effective in identifying posts and accounts that were part of a foreign influence campaign, including those by accounts that had never been used before.

Credit: Princeton School of Public and International Affairs

A research team led by Princeton University has developed a technique for tracking online foreign misinformation campaigns in real time, which could help mitigate outside interference in the 2020 American election.

The researchers developed a method for using machine learning to identify malicious internet accounts, or trolls, based on their past behavior. Featured in Science Advances, the model investigated past misinformation campaigns from China, Russia, and Venezuela that were waged against the United States before and after the 2016 election.

The team identified the patterns these campaigns followed by analyzing posts to Twitter and Reddit and the hyperlinks or URLs they included. After running a series of tests, they found their model was effective in identifying posts and accounts that were part of a foreign influence campaign, including those by accounts that had never been used before.

They hope that software engineers will be able to build on their work to create a real-time monitoring system for exposing foreign influence in American politics.

 

From Princeton School of Public and International Affairs
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