Fake news 'travels faster', study finds

No bots here

"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". "Fake news is ideal for spreadability: It's going to be shocking, it's going to be surprising, and it's going to be playing on people's emotions, and that's a recipe for how to spread misinformation", Miriam Metzger, a UC Santa Barbara communications researcher not involved in the study, tells Resnick.

Menczer said that Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites have a responsibility to address "fake news", and have taken some steps.

Sinan Aral, along with fellow researchers Deb Roy and Soroush Vosoughi.

Falsehoods were 70 per cent more likely to be retweeted than the truth.

The term "fake news" has in recent times become part of the lexicon of many people, thanks in part to US President Donald Trump regularly using it - often when referring to reports that are accurate but critical of him or his administration. On average, false information reaches 35 per cent more people than true news.

The researchers tracked about 126,000 cascades of news stories - that is, large chains of frequently retweeted pieces of content - on Twitter from 2006 to 2017.

"We found that false news was more novel than true news, which suggests that people were more likely to share novel information".

The big take away, according to The Atlantic, is that "Falsehoods nearly always beat out the truth on Twitter, penetrating further, faster, and deeper into the social network than accurate information".

So maybe it's not surprising that with a kernel of juicy - if fake - news in hand, so many people are then inclined to show off that new information and share it online.

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Fake news spreads more rapidly on Twitter than real news does - and by a substantial margin, three scholars at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have found.

In addition to false political stories, other popular topics included urban legends, business, terrorism, science, entertainment and natural disasters.

While the spread of false news on social media has always had real world consequences - for example, leading to drops in the stock market - the 2016 USA presidential election has emerged as a watershed example of how far and wide that influence can reach.

This is unedited, unformatted feed from the Press Trust of India wire.

Leaning on the world of behavioral theory for an explanation, they started to think that since new information helps humans better understand the world, we're more tempted by stories that make them feel like we're "in the know".

The result? "We saw a different emotional profile for false news and true news", Vosoughi says. In general, the researchers found that the misinformation spread faster because it was more fanciful and outrageous. Whereas the top one percent of false news reached to 100,000 people.

Intelligence agencies in the USA have accused Russian Federation of helping spread fake news stories during the 2016 U.S. presidential election with a view to helping Trump get elected, something the country has denied. "The central concept of this paper is veracity", Aral said.

When they looked at who was spreading the wrong stuff, they found it was ordinary users of social media. True news also reaches and spread slowly than the false news.

In a streamed conversation with users, CEO Jack Dorsey said the company will work hard on the problem.

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