False news especially that of a political nature, spreads faster than the truth, a new study published by Science magazine shows.
The researchers looked at about 126 00 stories tweeted by three million people more than 4.5 million times between 2006 and 2017.
The research showed that 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.
“We found that false news was more novel than true news, which suggests that people were more likely to share novel information,” the researchers said.
“Whereas false stories inspired fear, disgust, and surprise in replies, true stories inspired anticipation, sadness, joy, and trust.
“Contrary to conventional wisdom, robots accelerated the spread of true and false news at the same rate, implying that false news spreads more than the truth because humans, not robots, are more likely to spread it.”
The findings could be key in the coming elections in Zimbabwe as there and more online news outlets covering Zimbabwe.
For those interested, below is the full report.