In the midst of today’s pervasive influence of social media content and activities, information credibility has increasingly become a major issue. Accordingly, identifying false information, e.g. rumors circulated in social media environments, attracts expanding research attention and growing interests. Many previous studies have exploited user-independent features for rumor detection. These prior investigations uniformly treat all users relevant to the propagation of a social media message as instances of a generic entity. Such a modeling approach usually adopts a homogeneous network to represent all users, the practice of which ignores the variety across an entire user population in a social media environment. Recognizing this limitation of modeling methodologies, this study explores user-specific features in a social media environment for rumor detection. The new approach hypothesizes that whether a user tends to spread a rumor is dependent upon specific attributes of the user in addition to content characteristics of the message itself. Under this hypothesis, information propagation patterns of rumors versus those of credible messages in a social media environment are systematically differentiable. To explore and exploit this hypothesis, we develop a new information propagation model based on a heterogeneous user representation for rumor recognition. The new approach is capable of differentiating rumors from credible messages through observing distinctions in their respective propagation patterns in social media. Experimental results show that the new information propagation model based on heterogeneous user representation can effectively distinguish rumors from credible social media content.