It’s a must-read story about “the grim conclusions of the largest-ever study of fake news,” reported in The Atlantic magazine by Robinson Meyer.
The big takeaway, according to The Atlantic, is that “Falsehoods almost always beat out the truth on Twitter, penetrating further, faster, and deeper into the social network than accurate information.”
Meyer writes, “The massive new study analyzes every major contested news story in English across the span of Twitter’s existence — some 126,000 stories, tweeted by 3 million users, over more than 10 years — and finds that the truth simply cannot compete with hoax and rumor. By every common metric, falsehood consistently dominates the truth on Twitter, the study finds: Fake news and false rumors reach more people, penetrate deeper into the social network, and spread much faster than accurate stories.
“‘It seems to be pretty clear [from our study] that false information outperforms true information,’ said Soroush Vosoughi, a data scientist at MIT who has studied fake news since 2013 and who led this study. ‘And that is not just because of bots. It might have something to do with human nature.’”
The story adds, “The study has already prompted alarm from social scientists. ‘We must redesign our information ecosystem in the 21st century,’ write a group of 16 political scientists and legal scholars in an essay also published Thursday in Science. They call for a new drive of interdisciplinary research ‘to reduce the spread of fake news and to address the underlying pathologies it has revealed.’
“‘How can we create a news ecosystem … that values and promotes truth?’ they ask.”
We urge you to read Meyer’s complete piece, which you can find if you click here. (It’s long, but worth the time spent reading it.)