Real or Not? Identifying Untrustworthy News Websites using Third-Party Partnerships
ACM Transactions on Management Information Systems, 2020
Posted: 16 Jun 2020
Date Written: May 21, 2020
Untrustworthy content such as fake news and clickbait have become a pervasive problem on the Internet, causing significant socio-political problems around the world. Identifying untrustworthy content is a crucial step in countering them. The current best-practices for identification involve content analysis and arduous fact-checking of the content. To complement content analysis, we propose examining websites’ third-parties to identify their trustworthiness. Websites utilize third-parties, also known as their digital supply chains, to create and present content and help the website function. Third-parties are an important indication of a website’s business model. Similar websites exhibit similarities in the third-parties they use. Using this perspective, we use machine learning and heuristic methods to discern similarities and dissimilarities in third-party usage, which we use to predict trustworthiness of websites. We demonstrate the effectiveness and robustness of our approach in predicting trustworthiness of websites from a database of News, Fake News, and Clickbait websites. Our approach can be easily and cost-effectively implemented to reinforce current identification methods.
Keywords: website third-parties, untrustworthy websites, prediction, machine learning, heuristics
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