Artificial immune system for illicit content identification in social media

Ming Yang, Melody Kiang, Hsinchun Chen, Yijun Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Social media is frequently used as a platform for the exchange of information and opinions as well as propaganda dissemination. But online content can be misused for the distribution of illicit information, such as violent postings in web forums. Illicit content is highly distributed in social media, while non-illicit content is unspecific and topically diverse. It is costly and time consuming to label a large amount of illicit content (positive examples) and non-illicit content (negative examples) to train classification systems. Nevertheless, it is relatively easy to obtain large volumes of unlabeled content in social media. In this article, an artificial immune system-based technique is presented to address the difficulties in the illicit content identification in social media. Inspired by the positive selection principle in the immune system, we designed a novel labeling heuristic based on partially supervised learning to extract high-quality positive and negative examples from unlabeled datasets.The empirical evaluation results from two large hate group web forums suggest that our proposed approach generally outperforms the benchmark techniques and exhibits more stable performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)256-269
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Artificial Intelligence


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