Recent years have witnessed remarkable progress towards computational fake news detection. To mitigate its negative impact, we argue that it is critical to understand what user attributes potentially cause users to share fake news. The key to this causal-inference problem is to identify confounders - variables that cause spurious associations between treatments (e.g., user attributes) and outcome (e.g., user susceptibility). In fake news dissemination, confounders can be characterized by fake news sharing behavior that inherently relates to user attributes and online activities. Learning such user behavior is typically subject to selection bias in users who are susceptible to share news on social media. Drawing on causal inference theories, we first propose a principled approach to alleviating selection bias in fake news dissemination. We then consider the learned unbiased fake news sharing behavior as the surrogate confounder that can fully capture the causal links between user attributes and user susceptibility. We theoretically and empirically characterize the effectiveness of the proposed approach and find that it could be useful in protecting society from the perils of fake news.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationKDD 2021 - Proceedings of the 27th ACM SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781450383325
StatePublished - Aug 14 2021
Event27th ACM SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining, KDD 2021 - Virtual, Online, Singapore
Duration: Aug 14 2021Aug 18 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining


Conference27th ACM SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining, KDD 2021
CityVirtual, Online


  • causal inference
  • fake news
  • social media
  • user behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Information Systems

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