Detecting Campaign Promoters on Twitter Using Markov Random Fields

Huayi Li, Arjun Mukherjee, Bing Liu, Rachel Kornfield, Sherry Emery

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

37 Scopus citations


As social media is becoming an increasingly important source of public information, companies, organizations and individuals are actively using social media platforms to promote their products, services, ideas and ideologies. Unlike promotional campaigns on TV or other traditional mass media platforms, campaigns on social media often appear in stealth modes. Campaign promoters often try to influence people's behaviors/opinions/decisions in a latent manner such that the readers are not aware that the messages they see are strategic campaign posts aimed at persuading them to buy target products/services. Readers take such campaign posts as just organic posts from the general public. It is thus important to discover such campaigns, their promoter accounts and how the campaigns are organized and executed as it can uncover the dynamics of Internet marketing. This discovery is clearly useful for competitors and also the general public. However, so far little work has been done to solve this problem. In this paper, we study this important problem in the context of the Twitter platform. Given a set of tweets streamed from Twitter based on a set of keywords representing a particular topic, the proposed technique aims to identify user accounts that are involved in promotion. We formulate the problem as a relational classification problem and solve it using typed Markov Random Fields (T-MRF), which is proposed as a generalization of the classic Markov Random Fields. Our experiments are carried out using three real-life datasets from the health science domain related to smoking. Such campaigns are interesting to health scientists, government health agencies and related businesses for obvious reasons. Our results show that the proposed method is highly effective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - 14th IEEE International Conference on Data Mining, ICDM 2014
EditorsRavi Kumar, Hannu Toivonen, Jian Pei, Joshua Zhexue Huang, Xindong Wu
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781479943029
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes
Event14th IEEE International Conference on Data Mining, ICDM 2014 - Shenzhen, China
Duration: Dec 14 2014Dec 17 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings - IEEE International Conference on Data Mining, ICDM
ISSN (Print)1550-4786


Other14th IEEE International Conference on Data Mining, ICDM 2014


  • Campaign Promoter
  • Markov Random Fields

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)

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