Fake News in Social Networks

39 Pages Posted: 27 Jul 2022 Last revised: 2 Aug 2022

See all articles by Christoph Aymanns

Christoph Aymanns

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - London School of Economics; University of St. Gallen - School of Finance

Jakob Foerster

University of Oxford

Co-Pierre Georg

University of Cape Town; Deutsche Bundesbank

Matthias Weber

University of St. Gallen - School of Finance; Swiss Finance Institute

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 22, 2022

Abstract

We propose multi-agent reinforcement learning as a new method for modeling fake news in social networks. This method allows us to model human behavior in social networks both in unaccustomed populations and in populations that have adapted to the presence of fake news. In particular the latter is challenging for existing methods. We find that a fake-news attack is more effective if it targets highly connected people and people with weaker private information. Attacks are more effective when the disinformation is spread across several agents than when the disinformation is concentrated with more intensity on fewer agents. Furthermore, fake news spread less well in balanced networks than in clustered networks. We test a part of these findings in a human-subject experiment. The experimental evidence provides support for the predictions from the model. This suggests that our model is suitable to analyze the spread of fake news in social networks.

Suggested Citation

Aymanns, Christoph and Foerster, Jakob and Georg, Co-Pierre and Weber, Matthias, Fake News in Social Networks (July 22, 2022). Swiss Finance Institute Research Paper No. 22-58, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4173312 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4173312

Christoph Aymanns

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - London School of Economics ( email )

United Kingdom

University of St. Gallen - School of Finance

Unterer Graben 21
St.Gallen, CH-9000
Switzerland

Jakob Foerster

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

Co-Pierre Georg

University of Cape Town ( email )

Private Bag X3
Rondebosch, Western Cape 7701
South Africa

Deutsche Bundesbank ( email )

Wilhelm-Epstein-Str. 14
Frankfurt/Main, 60431
Germany

Matthias Weber (Contact Author)

University of St. Gallen - School of Finance ( email )

Unterer Graben 21
St.Gallen, CH-9000
Switzerland

Swiss Finance Institute ( email )

c/o University of Geneva
40, Bd du Pont-d'Arve
CH-1211 Geneva 4
Switzerland

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