In recent months, the social network has faced withering criticism from USA lawmakers for underestimating the extent of foreign influence on its platform. "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". "I realised that...a good chunk of what I was reading on social media was rumours; it was false news".
"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". "Thus, people who share novel information are seen as being in the know", Aral said.
The six fact-checking websites agreed with each other on classification at least 95 per cent of the time, plus two outside researchers did some independent fact-checking to make sure everything was OK, said co-author Sinan Aral, an MIT management professor.
Among those projects is an effort to measure the health of conservations across the platform.
In further analysis of the data, the researchers took out information spread by automated social media accounts, or "bots", and found that the findings still stood when these programmed accounts were removed.
"Twitter became our main source of news", Vosoughi said in a statement. "Run behavior intervention experiments to see if we can dampen the spread of misinformation". Fake political news was especially viral; it reached over 20,000 people faster than what other false news categories could do.
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Falsehoods spread like wildfire on social media, getting quicker and longer-lasting pickup than the truth, researchers reported on Thursday.
Is Canada's democracy ready for a dire new age of weaponized news? "We refer to any asserted claim made on Twitter as news", they said.
A deep dive into Twitter shows that false news was re-tweeted more often than true news was, and carried further. He found out that individual tweets of true news only reached to 1000 or more people. Twitter's general counsel Sean Edgett is pictured here in the middle.
When they looked at who was spreading the wrong stuff, they found it was ordinary users of social media.
Human instincts may help explain the novelty value of fake news, but surely those notorious Twitter bots make the problem worse.
"It is really challenging to get access to enough data that is comprehensive enough that we can say things conclusively", says Elizabeth Dubois, an assistant professor at the University of Ottawa who has studied the presence of political bots in Canada.