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During Disasters, Active Twitter Users Likely to Spread Falsehoods


While Twitter users are likely to spread false news during disasters, Twitter and other media platforms move quickly to correct the misinformation.

A new study by researchers at the University of Buffalo has found that Twitter users are extremely likely to spread false news during times of emergency.

Credit: University at Buffalo News Center

Researchers at the University at Buffalo (UB), examining more than 20,000 tweets sent during Hurricane Sandy and the Boston Marathon bombing, found that up to 91% of users spread falsehoods either by retweeting or "liking" an original post containing false news.

The study, which focused on four false rumors related to the hurricane and bombing, also showed that up to 9 percent sought to verify the false news by retweeting and asking if the information was correct, while 9 percent of users expressed doubt about the veracity of a fake news item.

UB's Jun Zhuang said the findings were important "because they show how easily people are deceived during times when they are most vulnerable and the role social media platforms play in these deceptions."

From University at Buffalo News Center
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Abstracts Copyright © 2018 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


 

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