Controlling Fake News by Collective Tagging: A Branching Process Analysis

Suyog Kapsikar, Indrajit Saha, Khushboo Agarwal, Veeraruna Kavitha, Quanyan Zhu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The spread of fake news on online social networks (OSNs) has become a matter of concern. These platforms are also used for propagating important authentic information. Thus, there is a need for mitigating fake news without significantly influencing the spread of real news. We leverage users' inherent capabilities of identifying fake news and propose a warning-based control mechanism to curb this spread. Warnings are based on previous users' responses that indicate the authenticity of the news. We use population-size dependent continuous-time multi-type branching processes to describe the spreading under the warning mechanism. We also have new results towards these branching processes. The (time) asymptotic proportions of the individual populations are derived using stochastic approximation tools. Using these, relevant type 1, type 2 performances are derived and an appropriate optimization problem is solved. The proposed mechanism effectively controls fake news, with negligible influence on the propagation of authentic news. We validate performance measures using Monte Carlo simulations on network connections provided by Twitter data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2021 American Control Conference, ACC 2021
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781665441971
StatePublished - May 25 2021
Event2021 American Control Conference, ACC 2021 - Virtual, New Orleans, United States
Duration: May 25 2021May 28 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of the American Control Conference
ISSN (Print)0743-1619


Conference2021 American Control Conference, ACC 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityVirtual, New Orleans


  • Branching process
  • Fake news
  • Stochastic approximation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Controlling Fake News by Collective Tagging: A Branching Process Analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this