Stay On-Topic: Generating Context-Specific Fake Restaurant Reviews

  • Mika JuutiEmail author
  • Bo Sun
  • Tatsuya Mori
  • N. Asokan
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11098)


Automatically generated fake restaurant reviews are a threat to online review systems. Recent research has shown that users have difficulties in detecting machine-generated fake reviews hiding among real restaurant reviews. The method used in this work (char-LSTM) has one drawback: it has difficulties staying in context, i.e. when it generates a review for specific target entity, the resulting review may contain phrases that are unrelated to the target, thus increasing its detectability. In this work, we present and evaluate a more sophisticated technique based on neural machine translation (NMT) with which we can generate reviews that stay on-topic. We test multiple variants of our technique using native English speakers on Amazon Mechanical Turk. We demonstrate that reviews generated by the best variant have almost optimal undetectability (class-averaged F-score 47%). We conduct a user study with experienced users and show that our method evades detection more frequently compared to the state-of-the-art (average evasion 3.2 / 4 vs 1.5 / 4) with statistical significance, at level \(\alpha = 1\%\) (Sect. 4.3). We develop very effective detection tools and reach average F-score of \(97\%\) in classifying these. Although fake reviews are very effective in fooling people, effective automatic detection is still feasible.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Aalto UniversityEspooFinland
  2. 2.Cybersecurity Research InstituteNational Institute of Information and Communications TechnologyTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Department of Computer Science and Communication EngineeringWaseda UniversityTokyoJapan
  4. 4.Center for Advanced Intelligence ProjectRIKENTokyoJapan

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