MIT scientist charts fake news reach

MIT scientist charts fake news reach

"What I'm saying is that human beings have more responsibility than we may have thought, and that actually changes the way that we would think about solutions".

"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". "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. "When people share novel information, their status goes up, and false news, it turns out, tends to be a lot more novel than the truth", he says.

Twitter chief executive officer Jack Dorsey said in March that Twitter is developing a mechanism to measure the "health" of conversations on its platform, in response to issues with harassment, abuse, and misuse.

And in a particularly interesting finding, the researchers used software to remove automated bots from the data and concluded that the results were essentially the same.

"Twitter became our main source of news", said Soroush Vosoughi, a postdoctoral student at the varsity.

"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.

It's a must-read story about "the grim conclusions of the largest-ever study of fake news", reported in The Atlantic magazine by Robinson Meyer. In contrast, the top 1 percent of tweets carrying false news routinely spread from between 1,000 to 100,000 people.

Social media good for democracy? The week of March 11-17 is Sunshine Week, when news organizations across the country celebrate access to public information and its role in a healthy, functioning democracy.

The researchers verified the accuracy of the stories by consulting fact-checking websites that investigate media information and widely circulating rumors - like and

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The study was covering three million accounts and 4.5 million tweets which were tweeted between the year 2006 to 2017.

It also takes true stories about six times as long to reach 1,500 people as it does for false stories to reach the same number of people. And falsehoods are retweeted by unique users more broadly than true statements at every depth of cascade.

Instead, false news speeds faster around Twitter due to people retweeting inaccurate news items.

All told, "falsehoods were 70% more likely to be retweeted than the truth", even though the accounts most responsible for circulating fake stories often had fewer followers, were less active on Twitter and were more often unverified.

The work was a collaboration between researchers at MIT's Media Lab and the school's Laboratory for Social Machines (LSM).

And the study found that bots - Russian or not - had very little do with it.

Vosoughi is now calling on researchers to pick up where he left off and dig into why people seem predisposed to share fake news. "We refer to any asserted claim made on Twitter as news", they said.

When they looked at who was spreading the wrong stuff, they found it was ordinary users of social media.