On the Infrastructure Providers That Support Misinformation Websites
Keywords:Credibility of online content, Trust; reputation; recommendation systems
AbstractIn this paper, we analyze the service providers that power 440 misinformation and hate sites, including hosting platforms, domain registrars, CDN providers, DDoS protection companies, advertising networks, donation processors, and e-mail providers. We find that several providers are disproportionately responsible for serving misinformation websites, most prominently Cloudflare. We further show that misinformation sites disproportionately rely on several popular ad networks and payment processors, including RevContent and Google DoubleClick. When misinformation websites are deplatformed by hosting providers, DDoS protection services, and registrars, sites nearly always resurface through alternative providers. However, anecdotally, we find that sites struggle to remain online when mainstream monetization channels are severed. We conclude with insights for infrastructure providers and researchers working to stem the spread of misinformation and hate content.
How to Cite
Han, C., Kumar, D., & Durumeric, Z. (2022). On the Infrastructure Providers That Support Misinformation Websites. Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media, 16(1), 287-298. https://doi.org/10.1609/icwsm.v16i1.19292