Great Problems Great Minds Seminar Series: Combating Disinformation on Social Media and Its Challenges

Join the Department of Social Sciences for this Great Problems, Great Minds seminar series event featuring guest speaker Kai Shu. The event will take place on Thursday, March 23, 2023 from 12:40–1:40 p.m in room 111 of the Robert A. Pritzker Science Center.

Shu has been a Gladwin Development Chair assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at Illinois Institute of Technology since fall 2020. He obtained his Ph.D. in Computer Science at Arizona State University, and his master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Chongqing University. His research addresses challenges varying from big data, to social media, and trustworthy AI on issues of fake news detection, social network analysis, cybersecurity, and health informatics. He was the recipient of the 2020 ASU Engineering Dean’s Dissertation Award, 2021 Finalist of Meta Research Faculty Award, 2022 Cisco Research Faculty Award, 2022 AMiner AI-2000 Most Influential Scholar honorable mention, 2022 Baidu AI Global High-Potential Young Scholar Award, and a 2023 Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence New Faculty Highlight. He has published innovative works in highly ranked journals and top conference proceedings such as the Association for Computing Machinery on Knowledge Discovery from Data (ACM KDD), Special Interest Group on Information Retrieval (SIGIR), Web Search and Data Mining (WSDM), World Wide Web (WWW), Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP), and many more. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Cisco System Inc., XCMG American Research Corporation, Google, Discovery Partners Institute, and the George Washington University Institute for Data, Democracy, and Politics research fellowship. More information about Shu and his work can be found at his website.

In recent years, disinformation became a global phenomenon, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. The wide dissemination of disinformation can have detrimental societal effects on individuals and society. For example, it is shown that false information spreads faster, deeper, and longer on social media. Furthermore, false information is dividing people, polarizing groups, confusing readers, and can be weaponized by nation-states to exert their influence. Despite the recent progress in detecting fake news, disinformation detection and mitigation remains a challenging task due to its complexity, diversity, multi-modality, speed, and costs of fact-checking or annotation, as well as social and psychological factors. This presentation examines some lessons learned when exploring strategies of detecting disinformation and fake news and discusses challenges in disinformation research and the pressing need for interdisciplinary research.

“Combating Disinformation on Social Media and Its Challenges” is part of the Great Problems, Great Minds seminar series which explores the major problems facing humanity as we move into the heart of the twenty-first century. To see the full schedule and videos from previous events, visit the seminar series page. For more information, contact Assistant Professor of Social Sciences Hao Huang at