One Man's Efforts to Track Fake News on Social Media

Mar 31, 2017

Credit Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP

The issue of fake news was one that was brought up many times during last year’s presidential election. Now, a student at the University of William & Mary is looking into how fake news makes its way through social media websites.

Cheng Li, a Ph.D. student in computer science created an algorithm that can predict someone’s political leanings based on the stories they share with their Twitter followers.

What he found suggests fake news was mostly spread by people on the extremes of the political spectrum. Users in the middle didn’t circulate as many faulty news stories.

“But this group did not circulate much fake news. Users with more extreme ideologies who had already made up their mind circulated most of the fake news.”

Li hopes that his algorithm can be used by political scientists and anyone who wants to analyze interactions on social media. 

You can find more information about Li and his project here.