“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes” - Charles Spurgeon.
It’s quite often that we believe everything we read on social media without confirming its credibility. A recent example was of the photos of the Syrian bombings wherein it was discovered that some of the pictures of bomb explosions posted online weren’t of Syria at all, in fact, they turned out to be photos of Palestine.
A group of researchers at MIT have published a paper stating that fake news spreads 20 times faster than factual news. Based on their analysis of 125,000 stories, which were tweeted more than 4.5 million times in total, all classified as being “true” or “false” by at least one of six independent fact-checking organizations.
“Falsehood diffused significantly farther, faster, deeper and more broadly than the truth in all categories of information, and the effects were more pronounced for false political news than for false news about terrorism, natural disasters, science, urban legends or financial information” the paper states.
A large part of the credit goes to the real Twitter users and not the twitter bots. Most of these users are average Joes and Janes, as opposed to ill-minded individuals who intentionally want to spread fake news, which is even more worrisome.
This research provides vital data for us to shape if at all we’d want to shape it in the first place, the credibility of our social media platform.