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    RPaSDT to track down the source of the fake news

    To reduce misinformation, it is crucial to identify the source of malicious messages on the net. A similar mechanism makes it possible, among other things, to identify the zero patients at the beginning of an epidemic. With the RPaSDT software, you can see where fake news comes from and how it spreads through social media.

    The author of the program is Damian Frąszczak, PhD student at the PhD School of WAT, who presented it in an article in the journal SoftwareX from the Science group. The researcher is concerned with the modelling of social networks, the dissemination and identification of fake news.


    The PhD student emphasises that the emergence of social networks has changed the world view. New communication patterns have replaced traditional means of communication. For most people, social media platforms are a basic source of information.


    “Social media platforms provide an outstanding possibility to share information inside a society, making our current world extremely compact and close. People use social media to share information, emotions, and trends. Transferring information from one person or the community to another in the network is known as information diffusion or information propagation. The social network structure characterized by no cost, great size, and instant communication makes this process very convenient. The common ways of information propagation like newspapers, TV, radio, etc., are becoming less popular,” says Damian Frąszczak.


    “Moreover, it is said that for most people, social media platforms are the primary source of information, which exposes them to very different types of information. There are many examples of utilizing them with the right intention, like warning people about dangerous situations or raising money for good causes. Having mentioned properties of the social media platforms, they also create an excellent opportunity to share information containing malicious content,” says the scientist.


    Damian Frąszczak’s research shows that many methods have been developed to determine the “spread source,” but it is difficult to compare these solutions with each other, to verify them reliably and to choose the best ones since there is no “test site” for researchers. Such a function can have according to the developer RPaSDT.


    In his article, the PhD student presented an easy-to-use set of IT tools that make it possible to identify “the source of malicious information.” The program supports the analysis, evaluation and visualization of social networks as well as the comparison of the effectiveness of different methods for identifying sources. Investigations can be carried out on opposite problems, i.e., based on a given network (initial situation) the nodes whose propagation encompasses all nodes in the network within a very short time.


    The promotors of his doctoral dissertation are dr. hab. inż. Ryszard Antkiewicz and dr. inż. Mariusz Chmielewski. The article “RPaSDT – Rumor Propagation and Source Detection Toolkit” was published in January 2022 in the journal SoftwareX.


    The article is also available on ResearchGate

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