Detecting rumours in disasters: An imbalanced learning approach

Amir Ebrahimi Fard*, Majid Mohammadi, Bartel van de Walle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The online spread of rumours in disasters can create panic and anxiety and disrupt crisis operations. Hence, it is crucial to take measure against such a distressing phenomenon since it can turn into a crisis by itself. In this work, the automatic rumour detection in natural disasters is addressed from an imbalanced learning perspective due to the rumour dearth versus non-rumour abundance in social networks. We first provide two datasets by collecting and annotating tweets regarding the Hurricane Florence and Kerala flood. We then capture the properties of rumours and non-rumours in those disasters using 83 theory-based and early-available features, 47 of which are proposed for the first time. The proposed features show a high discrimination power that help us distinguish rumours from non-rumours more reliably. Next, We build the rumour identification models using imbalanced learning to address the scarcity of rumours compared to non-rumour. Additionally, to replicate the rumour detection in the real-world situation, we practice cross-incident learning by training the classifier with the samples of one incident and test it with the other one. In the end we measure the impact of imbalanced learning using Bayesian Wilcoxon Signed-rank test and observe a significant improvement in the classifiers performance.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationComputational Science – ICCS 2020 - 20th International Conference, Proceedings
EditorsValeria V. Krzhizhanovskaya, Gábor Závodszky, Michael H. Lees, Peter M.A. Sloot, Jack J. Dongarra, Sérgio Brissos, João Teixeira
PublisherSpringer Open
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9783030504229
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event20th International Conference on Computational Science, ICCS 2020 - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 3 Jun 20205 Jun 2020

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume12140 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference20th International Conference on Computational Science, ICCS 2020


  • Building dataset
  • Feature engineering
  • Imbalanced learning
  • Rumour detection
  • Twitter


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