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Scientists prove that truth is no match for fiction on Twitter

* Twittersphere.jpgResearchers find fake news reaches users up to 20 times faster than factual content - and real users are more likely to spread it than bots.

"Falsehood flies, and the truth comes limping after it," wrote Jonathan Swift in 1710. Now a group of scientists say they have found evidence Swift was right - at least when it comes to Twitter. In the paper, published in the journal Science, three MIT researchers describe an analysis of a vast amount of Twitter data: more than 125,000 stories, tweeted more than 4.5 million times in total, all categorised as being true or false by at least one of six independent fact-checking organisations.

The findings make for unhappy reading. "Falsehood diffused significantly farther, faster, deeper and more broadly than the truth in all categories of information," they write, "and the effects were more pronounced for false political news than for false news about terrorism, natural disasters, science, urban legends or financial information."

12th March 2018




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