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BREAKING NEWS

Sign of the times:
Study finds that false news travels much faster and farther than the truth on social media

March 12, 2018



Chronicle news & opinion

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- Want to know who loves things passed off as facts that aren't true? We do. All of us. All the time.

We human beings misinform ourselves all of the time, day in, day out. And we love it. Can't get enough of it.

Results of a new study finds that false information on Twitter travels six times faster than the truth and on top of that, the false stuff reaches far more people.

Is that pathetic or what? Never before in history have human beings had so much instantaneous access to truthful, factual information and yet we choose false, fake stuff over the truth. Even lower orders of primates aren't that stupid.

According to a report by CBS News, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) looked at more than 126,000 stories tweeted millions of times between 2006 and the end of 2016

They found that that fake news ripped through Twitter "farther, faster, deeper and more broadly" than the truth in all categories of information. That means if you were retweeting a story about kumquats, chance are it was false news about kumquats.

Those researchers figured that the average false story takes about 10 hours to reach 1,500 Twitter users, versus about 60 hours for the truth and on average, false information reaches 35 percent more people than true news.

Here's something else that's pretty ugly. While true news stories almost never got retweeted to even 1,000 people, the top one percent of the false ones got to as many as 100,000 people.

The lead author of that study, Soroush Vosoughi, an MIT data scientist, said the three false stories that traveled the farthest and fastest were (1) about a Muslim guard called a hero in the Paris bombings of 2015 (2) an Iraq war veteran finishing as runner-up to Caitlyn Jenner for an ESPN courage award and (3) and an episode of "The Simpsons" that had a story line in 2000 about a Trump presidency. (It was in 2015.)

So what can you do to stem the tide of false news and advance the cause of truth, justice and the American way?

Right now you go give our DONATE button right here a good workout.

Give till it hurts bro. No pain, no gain.





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