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Fake News spreads faster that real news on Twitter, a study of MIT finds

MIT research: Fake News spreads faster and deeper that real news on Twitter

Fake News spreads faster that real news on Twitter. This is what a recent study from a trio of MIT researchers has confirmed. Soroush Vosoughi, Deb Roy and Sinan Aral investigated the differential diffusion of all of the verified true and false news stories distributed on Twitter from 2006 to 2017. The data comprise more or less 126,000 stories tweeted on the social media by around 3 million people more than 4.5 million times. As the abstract of the reports documents, they classified news as true or false using information from six independent fact-checking organizations that exhibited 95 to 98% agreement on the classifications. 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 problem can’t be blamed on bots; the study finded that false news spreads more than the truth on the social media because humans

The MIT researchers found that fake news was more novel than true news. It suggests that people were more likely to share novel information. Whereas false stories inspired fear, disgust, and surprise in replies, true stories inspired anticipation, sadness, joy, and trust. Contrary to conventional wisdom, 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. It thanks to the new social technologies too, which facilitate rapid information sharing and large-scale information cascades. The research findings appeared in the latest issue of Science and underscore an ongoing difficult problem facing social media: how to counter effectively and durably fake news, misinformation and propaganda when it runs faster and deeper than real news. And if the worst enemies aren’t bots, but humans.

The complete study on the spread of false news on Twitter, published on Science

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