If you’ve ever heard the expression “A lie will go round the world while truth is pulling its boots on.” [By C. H. Spurgeon, Gems from Spurgeon(1859)] There has been a new study that has proven the truth of it; at least when it comes to social media like Twitter.
Three M.I.T. Scholars performed a study using twitter to determine how quickly information can spread based on if it is true or not. According to Sinan Aral, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management and co-author of the paper, they found that “falsehood diffuses significantly farther, faster, deeper, and more broadly than the truth,” or basically; “Falsehood flies, and the truth comes limping after” (Jonathan Swift – The Examiner, Nov. 9, 1710).
And it’s not programmed bots that are doing the damage. When the excluded those the results still stood. That it takes a true story six times as long to reach 1,500 people as it does a false one. That false stories are 70% more likely to be shared. There were other ways they proved this point which you can learn more about in a series of videos beginning with the one below
The spread of rumors online: How did the research begin?
By: MIT Media Lab
Click through the video link to see more of the videos on the MIT Media Lab Youtube page.
You can also read about it in the article about the new paper here.
But when it comes to the truth and lies on the internet the best thing you can do is to think twice about everything you read online. If it seems overly sensational or completely against what you think you know its always best to check multiple sources to see if it is.
If you’re not used to having to check online to see if something is true there is a reasource many use for just such a thing. You can find it at www.snopes.com
Story from MIT news.