False News On Twitter Spread Faster, Human Plays Major Role Than Bots

US study finds fake news spreads faster than real news

False news travels faster than true stories on Twitter: study

"Contrary to conventional wisdom", the researchers wrote, "robots accelerated the spread of true and false news at the same rate, implying that false news spreads more than the truth because humans, not robots, are more likely to spread it".

Aral thinks that relevant success of false news stories on Twitter might have something to do with people's desire to say, and share, things that they find unusual or different. Aral declined to identify it, citing the conditions that Twitter imposed when sharing the data set.

I have not seen conclusive evidence that social media is causing political polarisation. It specifically examined how rapidly fake news spreads on Twitter, and classified news as true or false by using information from six fact-checking organisations. The study authors aimed to be apolitical in distinguishing what was true or false.

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Lead author Soroush Vosoughi, an MIT data scientist, said the three false stories that traveled the farthest and fastest were about a Muslim guard called a hero in the Paris bombings of 2015; an Iraq war veteran finishing as runner-up to Caitlyn Jenner for an ESPN courage award; and an episode of "The Simpsons" that had a story line in 2000 about a Trump presidency.

A TWEET can wreak havoc in a few hundred characters, as demonstrated in April 2013 when someone hacked the Associated Press Twitter account and claimed that explosions at the White House had injured President Barack Obama. The MIT team characterized a story's truth on a 1-to-5 scale, with 1 being completely false. Politics got the most attention among true and false rumours, they discovered, representing 45,000 of the 126,000 cascades. "And treated as analogous to venereal disease".

Researchers say fake stories spread faster because of the "novelty hypothesis", which suggests people share these stories because they are more surprising than real news. Out of those accounts, nearly 15 percent of the accounts were bots. Speaking to The Atlantic, one of the researchers said "it might have something to do with human nature". Researchers found that the spread of false information is essentially not due to robots that are programmed to disseminate inaccurate stories.

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False information on the internet travels faster than the truth, researchers said Thursday. Others, of course, are false and far more pernicious, such as conspiracy theories about the Parkland high school shooting in Florida. "We don't know of any other way to get a more rigorous data set", Aral said, than using independent fact-checkers that are almost unanimous.

"The more odd and more sensational the story sounds, the more likely they are going to retweet", Kahan said.

The spread of false stories was more pronounced for political news than for news in the other categories.

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Roy said the study results reminded him of the often-cited quotation that essentially says a lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth can get its boots - or trousers - on. Politifact traced a version of it back to Jonathan Swift in 1710.

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