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MIT finds that on Twitter, false news travels faster than true stories - expert comment

Dr WadeCommenting on MIT's study which found that untruths travel significantly farther, faster, deeper, and more broadly than the truth, in all categories of information, Dr Kimberley Wade from the Department of Psychology said:

“This is a robust and fascinating large-scale study of online misinformation. And the results make sense: If fake news is more novel, more provocative and more entertaining than the real news that hits our social media feeds, then we will be more likely to view it and to share it. When we share information on social media we want people to look at what we’re saying, and we want to entertain them, so sharing fake news helps us to achieve those goals. And perhaps we strive for entertainment over authenticity.

“There may be ways to discourage people from sharing fake news, but first we need a better understanding of why people trust certain sources of information and what types of heuristics—or shortcuts—they use to verify news items. I imagine very soon we will have new technologies that will help people to form a healthy skepticism toward the misinformation, scams, and doctored images they encounter online.”

  • Dr Wade is available for interview by Skype or telephone.

9 March 2018

 

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