Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The spread of true and false news online

There's been a lot of press coverage for: Vosoughi, S., Roy, D. and Aral, S. (2018). The spread of true and false news online. Science, 359(6380), 1146-1151. DOI: 10.1126/science.aap9559 http://science.sciencemag.org/content/359/6380/1146. A key finding was that false news travels faster than true news (truth and falsity was judged by using fact checking sites) and that it was humans rather than bots who were responsible. To quote the easy-rerad abstract they "used a data set of rumor cascades on Twitter from 2006 to 2017. About 126,000 rumors were spread by ∼3 million people. False news reached more people than the truth; the top 1% of false news cascades diffused to between 1000 and 100,000 people, whereas the truth rarely diffused to more than 1000 people. Falsehood also diffused faster than the truth. The degree of novelty and the emotional reactions of recipients may be responsible for the differences observed." Two of the more useful articles reporting on the article are:
- Skelton, V. (2018, March 11). Fight the false: how news spreads on Twitter. http://www.infotoday.eu/Articles/Editorial/Featured-Articles/Fight-the-false-how-news-spreads-on-Twitter-123767.aspx?utm
- Meyer, R. (2018, March 8).The Grim Conclusions of the Largest-Ever Study of Fake News. The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/03/largest-study-ever-fake-news-mit-twitter/555104/
Photo by Sheila Webber: Hinamatsuri display in Minamoto Kitchen, London, March 2018

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