False news stories are 70% more likely to be retweeted on Twitter than true ones

As it was reported on MarketWatch article (25/10/2018) by Kari Paul, a recent study conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on the spreading of false information concluded that »false news stories are 70% more likely to be retweeted than true stories.« The study also stated that false stories »are also retweeted more widely than true statements at every depth of a ‘cascade,’« which is what unbroken tweet chains were referred to as in the study.

Fact #1: On Twitter TWTR, +2.60% false news stories are 70% more likely to be retweeted than true stories, and it takes true stories about six times as long to reach 1,500 people as it takes for false stories to reach the same number of people.

Fact #2: Falsehoods are also retweeted more widely than true statements at every depth of a “cascade,” which is how the study refers to unbroken tweet chains. These chains travel 10 to 20 times more quickly than facts.

Fact #3: Unlike Facebook FB, +11.55% Twitter allows anonymous accounts or those with pseudonyms or multiple accounts, but these policies are difficult to enforce.

Surprisingly, when the research team tested the influence of bots in the spreading of fake news by removing them from their dataset, they discovered that the rate of users spreading fake news when compared to true stories was unaffected.

As startups and social media giants work to target the problem, e.g. to figure out ways to combat fake news, the researchers believe that the problem is more complicated than expected, especially since they found that there are many users who unwittingly share the false information in addition to those who share it on purpose. Researchers were »surprised and stunned« at the magnitude of the problem uncovered in the study. Because of this, more careful studies and varied responses to the two-part problem are required.

Kari Paul, False news stories are 70% more likely to be retweeted on Twitter than true ones (25/10/2018)

The information is prepared by the team of the COMPACT project.

COMPACT is a Coordination and Support Action funded European Commission under framework Horizon 2020.

The objective of the COMPACT project is to increase awareness (including scientific, political, cultural, legal, economic and technical areas) of the latest technological discoveries among key stakeholders in the context of social media and convergence. The project will offer analyses and road maps of related initiatives. In addition, extensive research on policies and regulatory frameworks in media and content will be developed.

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