Application of the Benford's law to Social bots and Information Operations activities

Lale M. Adahali, Margeret Hall

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Benford's law shows the pattern of behavior in normal systems. It states that in natural systems digits' frequency have a certain pattern such that the occurrence of first digits in numbers are unevenly distributed. In systems with natural behavior, numbers begin with a '1' are more common than numbers beginning with '9'. It implies that if the distribution of first digits deviate from the expected distribution, it is indicative of fraud. It has many applications in forensic accounting, stock markets, finding abnormal data in survey data, and natural science. We investigate whether social media bots and Information Operations activities are conformant to the Benford's law. Our results showed that bots' behavior adhere to Benford's law, suggesting that using this law helps in detecting malicious online automated accounts and their activities on social media. However, activities related to Information Operations did not show consistency in regards to Benford's law. Our findings shedlight on the importance of examining regular and anomalous online behavior to avoid malicious and contaminated content on social media.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2020 International Conference on Cyber Situational Awareness, Data Analytics and Assessment, Cyber SA 2020
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781728166902
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2020
Event2020 International Conference on Cyber Situational Awareness, Data Analytics and Assessment, Cyber SA 2020 - Virtual, Online, Ireland
Duration: Jun 15 2020Jun 19 2020

Publication series

Name2020 International Conference on Cyber Situational Awareness, Data Analytics and Assessment, Cyber SA 2020

Conference

Conference2020 International Conference on Cyber Situational Awareness, Data Analytics and Assessment, Cyber SA 2020
CountryIreland
CityVirtual, Online
Period6/15/206/19/20

Keywords

  • Benford's law
  • Information Operations
  • social bots

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality

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  • Cite this

    Adahali, L. M., & Hall, M. (2020). Application of the Benford's law to Social bots and Information Operations activities. In 2020 International Conference on Cyber Situational Awareness, Data Analytics and Assessment, Cyber SA 2020 [9139709] (2020 International Conference on Cyber Situational Awareness, Data Analytics and Assessment, Cyber SA 2020). Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.. https://doi.org/10.1109/CyberSA49311.2020.9139709