Talk by Francesco Pierri

When: October 15, 2021,  12:00pm

Where: Luddy 1106 (Dorsey Learning Hall)

Zoom link:

Speaker: Francesco Pierri 

Title: Characterization and detection of disinformation spreading in online social networks


Online social media expose us to a variety of false and misleading information which erodes public trust towards institutions, with severe backlashes in the real world. One example is the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, as the world experiences an “infodemic”, an overabundance of information including false and misleading content, which undermines medical intervention to fight the disease.

In this talk, I will present results from the research carried out during the last three years as a Ph.D. candidate in Politecnico di Milano, and that will be part of my forthcoming Ph.D. dissertation. I will also present results from my on-going collaboration with the Observatory on Social Media.

I leveraged a computer science and network science approach to tackle the problem of disinformation spreading in online social networks from two perspectives: (1) characterization, i.e., understanding the mechanisms and the actors involved in the spread of false and misleading information on online social media during relevant events such as political elections and the on-going COVID-19 pandemic; (2) detection, i.e., building a methodology to accurately classify news articles based on the interactions between users that take place on platforms like Twitter.


I am a 3rd (last) year Ph.D. student in the “Data Analytics and Decision Sciences” Ph.D. program at Politecnico di Milano, under the supervision of prof. Stefano Ceri and prof. Fabio Pammolli.

The focus of my research (and my Ph.D. dissertation) is to understand the spread of disinformation in online social networks, with both a computer science and network science approach. I also recently investigated the socio-economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic by leveraging human mobility data from mobile phones.

I am currently a visiting scholar at the Observatory on Social Media (since September 2020), where we investigate the COVID-19 infodemic and the spread of vaccine-related misinformation.