False news travels much faster than true news

False news travels much faster than true news

False news travels much faster than true news

"Falsehood diffused significantly farther, faster, deeper, and more broadly than the truth in all categories of information, and the effects were more pronounced for false political news than for false news about terrorism, natural disasters, science, urban legends, or financial information", the team, led bySinan Aral of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wrote in the journal Science. True news takes six times longer to reach to 1500 people compared to false news.

But he offered some generalities about who propagates false news: A false rumour cascade was more likely to begin with a young, unverified account with a small number of followers.

Overall, falsehoods were 70% more likely to be retweeted than the truth.

It might be because false statements sound more surprising, they said.

Vosoughi is now calling on researchers to pick up where he left off and dig into why people seem predisposed to share fake news.

I have not seen conclusive evidence that social media is causing political polarisation. Fake news is marked in red, true news in green, and a mix of the two in yellow. "Can we do things that could make people less likely to want to retweet something that's false?" They also used a broad definition of "news". We cannot blam bot because we are the reason for creating and spreading that news.

An MIT researcher hopes his study of fake news will encourage other scholars to take a closer look at why humans seem hard-wired to spread false news online and seek out ways to nudge people toward the truth.

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The problem we are facing, Pennycook said, is that people going through the checkout aisle know the supermarket tabloids aren't hard, vetted news - but on Twitter and Facebook everything looks the same. They deliberately did not use the phrase fake news, and they outsourced claims of veracity to Snopes.com, Politifact.com and four other independent fact-checking organisations. The six sites agreed on which reports were true about 95 percent of the time, they said. Researchers looked at 126,000 stories on Twitter, tweeted by around 3.5 million users more than 4.5 million times between 2006 and 2017.

She added that the researches were "somewhere between surprised and stunned" at the different trajectories of true and false news on Twitter.

"The authors are very honest with the interpretation of their results: They can not claim any causality between novelty and endorsement, but they provide convincing evidence that novelty plays an important role in spreading fake information", said Manlio De Domenico, a scientist at the Bruno Kessler Foundation's Center for Information Technology in Italy who tracked how the Higgs boson rumour spread on Twitter.

But don't forget about the bots, argue Filippo Menczer of Indiana University and colleagues.

Why do people fall for it, whether it's from a bot or a real friend? "Fact-checking might even be counterproductive under certain circumstances", they wrote.

Read the full text of "The spread of true and false news online" at Science Mag here.

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