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Article

Raising the Flag: Monitoring User Perceived Disinformation on Reddit

Department of Statistics and Methodology, School of Social Sciences, University of Mannheim, 68159 Mannheim, Germany
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Information 2021, 12(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/info12010004
Received: 1 November 2020 / Revised: 15 December 2020 / Accepted: 16 December 2020 / Published: 22 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tackling Misinformation Online)
The truth value of any new piece of information is not only investigated by media platforms, but also debated intensely on internet forums. Forum users are fighting back against misinformation, by informally flagging suspicious posts as false or misleading in their comments. We propose extracting posts informally flagged by Reddit users as a means to narrow down the list of potential instances of disinformation. To identify these flags, we built a dictionary enhanced with part of speech tags and dependency parsing to filter out specific phrases. Our rule-based approach performs similarly to machine learning models, but offers more transparency and interactivity. Posts matched by our technique are presented in a publicly accessible, daily updated, and customizable dashboard. This paper offers a descriptive analysis of which topics, venues, and time periods were linked to perceived misinformation in the first half of 2020, and compares user flagged sources with an external dataset of unreliable news websites. Using this method can help researchers understand how truth and falsehood are perceived in the subreddit communities, and to identify new false narratives before they spread through the larger population. View Full-Text
Keywords: disinformation; user labeling; Reddit; natural language processing; dashboard disinformation; user labeling; Reddit; natural language processing; dashboard
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  • Externally hosted supplementary file 1
    Doi: 10.6084/m9.figshare.13174136
    Description: We published three different sets of files on figshare. 1. Manual annotation files DOI: 10.6084/m9.figshare.13315259 2. Descriptive analyses DOI: 10.6084/m9.figshare.13174145 3. Source code of Dashboard DOI: 10.6084/m9.figshare.13174136
MDPI and ACS Style

Achimescu, V.; Chachev, P.D. Raising the Flag: Monitoring User Perceived Disinformation on Reddit. Information 2021, 12, 4. https://doi.org/10.3390/info12010004

AMA Style

Achimescu V, Chachev PD. Raising the Flag: Monitoring User Perceived Disinformation on Reddit. Information. 2021; 12(1):4. https://doi.org/10.3390/info12010004

Chicago/Turabian Style

Achimescu, Vlad, and Pavel D. Chachev. 2021. "Raising the Flag: Monitoring User Perceived Disinformation on Reddit" Information 12, no. 1: 4. https://doi.org/10.3390/info12010004

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