Students Develop Cybersecurity System to Detect Online Rumors

Sensing a gap in services that are able to verify information on the internet, a team of three computer science students, Israa’ Eleyan, Wafa’ Abu Makhou, and Izdihar Shanineh, sought in their graduation project to go beyond the specific medium and consider the setting in which misinformation is interpreted and might spread.  

The students addressed the problem of rumors by examining their propagation, giving the most attention to detecting rumor topics instead of verifying individual posts. Their “false information detector” specialized in verifying the Arabic language combines social media networks and other online information resources.  Written context is automatically extracted using linguistic features that are evaluated for patterns of suspicious or inconsistent information.

The system integrates a set of social networks and other web resources of information to help retrieve the information, filter the date, match user and content features with semantics, and then distinguish between false and authentic information.

The project’s supervisors, Electrical and Computer Engineering professor Mohammed Hussein and social media specialist Mahdi Washaha, noted that the detector will allow individuals, companies, and other organizations to detect false information. According to the professors, the system will help them to figure out whether they are seeing only one side of a story, thus furthering both accuracy and reputation management especially for organizations.