Study confirms: #FakeNews travels faster than real news

This may explain why so much alarming (but false) information exists about climate change, chemtrails, Fukushima radiation, UFO’s etc.

Mark Twain was amazingly prescient, even before the age of Twitter with this famous quote attributed to him:

A lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth can get its boots on

From MIT:

On Twitter, false news travels faster than true stories

Research project finds humans, not bots, are primarily responsible for spread of misleading information.

A new study by three MIT scholars has found that false news spreads more rapidly on the social network Twitter than real news does — and by a substantial margin.

“We found that falsehood defuses significantly farther, faster, deeper, and more broadly than the truth, in all categories of information, and in many cases by an order of magnitude,” says Sinan Aral, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management and co-author of a new paper detailing the findings.

“These findings shed new light on fundamental aspects of our online communication ecosystem,” says Deb Roy, an associate professor of media arts and sciences at the MIT Media Lab and director of the Media Lab’s Laboratory for Social Machines (LSM), who is also a co-author of the study. Roy adds that the researchers were “somewhere between surprised and stunned” at the different trajectories of true and false news on Twitter.

Moreover, the scholars found, the spread of false information is essentially not due to bots that are programmed to disseminate inaccurate stories. Instead, false news speeds faster around Twitter due to people retweeting inaccurate news items.

“When we removed all of the bots in our dataset, [the] differences between the spread of false and true news stood,”says Soroush Vosoughi, a co-author of the new paper and a postdoc at LSM whose PhD research helped give rise to the current study.

The study provides a variety of ways of quantifying this phenomenon: For instance,  false news stories are 70 percent more likely to be retweeted than true stories are. It also takes true stories about six times as long to reach 1,500 people as it does for false stories to reach the same number of people. When it comes to Twitter’s “cascades,” or unbroken retweet chains, falsehoods reach a cascade depth of 10 about 20 times faster than facts. And falsehoods are retweeted by unique users more broadly than true statements at every depth of cascade.

The paper, “The Spread of True and False News Online,” is published today in Science.

Why novelty may drive the spread of falsity

The genesis of the study involves the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and subsequent casualties, which received massive attention on Twitter.

“Twitter became our main source of news,” Vosoughi says. But in the aftermath of the tragic events, he adds, “I realized that … a good chunk of what I was reading on social media was rumors; it was false news.” Subsequently, Vosoughi and Roy — Vosoughi’s graduate advisor at the time — decided to pivot Vosoughi’s PhD focus to develop a model that could predict the veracity of rumors on Twitter.

Subsequently, after consultation with Aral — another of Vosoughi’s graduate advisors, who has studied social networks extensively — the three researchers decided to try the approach used in the new study: objectively identifying news stories as true or false, and charting their Twitter trajectories. Twitter provided support for the research and granted the MIT team full access to its historical archives. Roy served as Twitter’s chief media scientist from 2013 to 2017.

To conduct the study, the researchers tracked roughly 126,000 cascades of news stories spreading on Twitter, which were cumulatively tweeted over 4.5 million times by about 3 million people, from the years 2006 to 2017.

To determine whether stories were true or false, the team used the assessments of six fact-checking organizations (,,,,, and, and found that their judgments overlapped more than 95 percent of the time.

Of the 126,000 cascades, politics comprised the biggest news category, with about 45,000, followed by urban legends, business, terrorism, science, entertainment, and natural disasters. The spread of false stories was more pronounced for political news than for news in the other categories.

The researchers also settled on the term “false news” as their object of study, as distinct from the now-ubiquitous term “fake news,” which involves multiple broad meanings.

The bottom-line findings produce a basic question: Why do falsehoods spread more quickly than the truth, on Twitter? Aral, Roy, and Vosoughi suggest the answer may reside in human psychology: We like new things.

“False news is more novel, and people are more likely to share novel information,” says Aral, who is the David Austin Professor of Management. And on social networks, people can gain attention by being the first to share previously unknown (but possibly false) information. Thus, as Aral puts it, “people who share novel information are seen as being in the know.”

The MIT scholars examined this “novelty hypothesis” in their research by taking a random subsample of Twitter users who propagated false stories, and analyzing the content of the reactions to those stories.

The result?

“We saw a different emotional profile for false news and true news,” Vosoughi says. “People respond to false news more with surprise and disgust,” he notes, whereas true stories produced replies more generally characterized by sadness, anticipation, and trust.

So while the researchers “cannot claim that novelty causes retweets” by itself, as they state in the paper, the surprise people register when they see false news fits with the idea that the novelty of falsehoods may be an important part of their propagation.

Directions for further research

While the three researchers all think the magnitude of the effect they found is highly significant, their views on its civic implications vary slightly. Aral says the result is “very scary” in civic terms, while Roy is a bit more sanguine. But the scholars agree it is important to think about ways to limit the spread of misinformation, and they hope their result will encourage more research on the subject.

On the first count, Aral notes, the recognition that humans, not bots, spread false news more quickly suggests a general approach to the problem.

“Now behavioral interventions become even more important in our fight to stop the spread of false news,” Aral says. “Whereas if it were just bots, we would need a technological solution.”

Vosoughi, for his part, suggests that if some people are deliberately spreading false news while others are doing so unwittingly, then the phenomenon is a two-part problem that may require multiple tactics in response. And Roy says the findings may help create “measurements or indicators that could become benchmarks” for social networks, advertisers, and other parties.

The MIT scholars say it is possible that the same phenomenon occurs on other social media platforms, including Facebook, but they emphasize that careful studies are needed on that and other related questions.

In that vein, Aral says, “science needs to have more support, both from industry and government, in order to do more studies.”

For now, Roy says, even well-meaning Twitter users might reflect on a simple idea: “Think before you retweet.”

The study:

The spread of true and false news online

Soroush VosoughiDeb RoySinan Aral

Lies spread faster than the truth

There is worldwide concern over false news and the possibility that it can influence political, economic, and social well-being. To understand how false news spreads, Vosoughi et al. used a data set of rumor cascades on Twitter from 2006 to 2017. About 126,000 rumors were spread by ∼3 million people. False news reached more people than the truth; the top 1% of false news cascades diffused to between 1000 and 100,000 people, whereas the truth rarely diffused to more than 1000 people. Falsehood also diffused faster than the truth. The degree of novelty and the emotional reactions of recipients may be responsible for the differences observed.


We investigated the differential diffusion of all of the verified true and false news stories distributed on Twitter from 2006 to 2017. The data comprise ~126,000 stories tweeted by ~3 million people more than 4.5 million times. We classified news as true or false using information from six independent fact-checking organizations that exhibited 95 to 98% agreement on the classifications. 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. 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.

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Phillip Bratby
March 8, 2018 12:01 pm

Who decides what is real news and what is fake news? How is it decided what is real news and what is fake news?
I am reminded of the BBC: “Is that true or did you hear it on the BBC?”

Reply to  Phillip Bratby
March 8, 2018 12:51 pm

The report said,,,,, and

Turns out that those are all left wing DNC shills. So the end result of their findings may be that Anti-Trump / Anti-Capitalist news travels slower.

Dr Deanster
Reply to  Jeff in Calgary
March 8, 2018 6:04 pm

Yep ….. the poster children of ideological falsehoods used to determine “truth”.
I guess they consulted Al Gore for what is true regarding any tweets on climate change.

Reply to  Jeff in Calgary
March 10, 2018 10:09 pm

It is also concerning that the “judgements” of the six organizations overlapped more than 95% of the time. They must all have the saem concept of “truth” on alsmost every story.

Reply to  Phillip Bratby
March 9, 2018 12:35 am

I’m constantly fact-checking FactCheck, Politico, Snopes and WAPO fact check and calling them out on it. They’re the most prolific disseminators of fake news.
Re BBC they even managed to introduce fake news into a story about the history of fake news. When stating that Trump supporters decided to coin it for themselves they said it was the realisation that they (Trump supporters) could spread fake news rather than what we all know which is that Trump was complaining about being maligned and his supporters agreed. Only then did the BBC introduce left wing fake news emerging, months into the Trump presidency as a copycat phenomenon- but they started it way back during the campaign and especially during the transition.
Apologies if typos. The comments box is hella hard work on an iPhone. U can’t see what you’re typing without scrolling up/down/sideways every couple of words.

March 8, 2018 12:03 pm

“We classified news as true or false using”….our own biases

M Montgomery
Reply to  Latitude
March 8, 2018 12:24 pm

“Truth is not what you want it to be; it is what it is, and you must bend to its power or live a lie.” – Miyomoto Musashi
Bias is just another postmodern progressive way of virtue signalling “my truth”, which is somehow some badge of honor. And you certainly can’t argue with it… which is the real point. My truth is, of course, a bs perception/myth. It serves us just as emotions do… as temporary guideposts on our journey. But we aren’t meant to get stuck or wallow in any of them.
For generations, we haven’t been taught reason, logic, or empiricism. How to debate in pursuit of Truth for Truth’s sake. Metaphysics. Now we’ve become a blob of “my truths” running around bouncing off each other. If it looks like madness, it is.
Then there are lies. When you got nothing else, you got “my truth” and lies. But of course, the ends justify the means. Never mind who exactly gets to define the ends.

Reply to  M Montgomery
March 8, 2018 1:35 pm

I also like the Wizard’s first rule “People are stupid. They believe things mainly because they either want them to be true or fear them to be true.” And now with Twitter it’s easy to resend what you believe to be true.

Reply to  M Montgomery
March 9, 2018 7:19 am

My sister once told me Rosie O’Donnell’s opinion on some such thing twenty years ago. I told her Rosie doesn’t even know where Africa is, and my sister said she had a different kind of intelligence. I said, they have a name for that, it’s ignorance.

March 8, 2018 12:07 pm

What’s twitter? /sarc

Reply to  ResourceGuy
March 8, 2018 12:17 pm

Apparently, it’s a hangout for twits.

Reply to  ResourceGuy
March 8, 2018 12:31 pm

What’s twitter?
Weaponized gossip.
Besides novelty, gossip is tinged with an emotional component that often isn’t present in true news.

Reply to  Gary
March 8, 2018 3:13 pm

It feeds people’s adrenaline addiction, and false (“Trump is not really President”) news gets the Liberal heart a-pumping, and all the Dims “share it” religiously.

Reply to  Gary
March 9, 2018 6:35 am

….with advertising and stock market valuation and earnings reports and …..

Reply to  ResourceGuy
March 8, 2018 12:47 pm

Twitter is the noise generated by a group of squabbling young birds.
They never know why they squabble or make so much noise. When they grow up, even with only their bird brains, they realize life is not about making so much noise but catching that early worm. 🙂

Tom Halla
March 8, 2018 12:19 pm

Given the biases of many “fact-checking” reporters, about the only instance I trust their evaluation is when it goes against their usual bias. Thus, if the WaPo rates a statement by a Democrat “false”, it very likely is false.

John M
Reply to  Tom Halla
March 8, 2018 12:24 pm

Or they could’ve used Snopes, which means they were really studying “misleading context.”

Tom Judd
Reply to  Tom Halla
March 8, 2018 3:47 pm

“Thus, if the WaPo rates a statement by a Democrat “false”, it very likely is false.”
The WaPo would never, ever do that. Ever. At most it would rate a 180 degree false statement from a Dem as; ‘an incorrectly true’, or ‘true under certain circumstances’, or ‘a perhaps unintentionally misleading’, or ‘a necessarily somewhat inaccurate but well intentioned’, or ‘originally intended to be true’ statement.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Tom Judd
March 8, 2018 8:24 pm

The WaPo jhas done exactly that, awarding a Democrat “three pinoccios”. the most recent incident was denouncing Everuytown’s “`18″school shootings this year theme.

Reply to  Tom Judd
March 9, 2018 8:32 am

Lol, yes. A false statement is not false if it comes from your idol. If Obama says he was born in Kenya in the back cover of his own memoirs, it is untrue in the context of ‘where Obama was born’, and true in the context of ‘did Obama lye’.
You can’t but laugh.

March 8, 2018 12:34 pm

I think it was Snopes that just did a fact check on The Babylon Bee – a satire site. Snopes and Politifact are garbage, as bad or worse than the stories and sites they check.

Reply to  Greg61
March 8, 2018 1:54 pm

Snopes Has to Hilariously Fact-Check Story Accusing CNN of Buying a Washing Machine to ‘Spin News’

Reply to  Latitude
March 9, 2018 8:38 am

Oh cheese save me from this!

Ill Tempered Klavier
March 8, 2018 12:35 pm

“If you haven’t heard a good rumor by noon, start one.” was kind of a thing when i was working.
( “We classified news as true or false using” … our own biases) Er… not exactly. They do claim to have used six of the better known “fact checking” sites. While these have demonstrable biases of their own, they do get most things right.

Reply to  Ill Tempered Klavier
March 8, 2018 1:36 pm

Like Wiki, they are good only so long as the thing being researched isn’t controversial.

March 8, 2018 12:55 pm

an actual news report is not laden with subjunctives and adjectives nor is it all about the author’s reaction to it. that’s gossip.
truth doesn’t wear boots; the naked truth never goes away so it doesn’t have to buzz in swarms like flies on subsidy.
it also doesn’t have fake boobs, so it’s not fapping material for the millenial.

March 8, 2018 1:13 pm

It is common sense that checking takes time, so spreading stories without checking is quicker that checking them before you spread them.
The real problem is the idiots who think “Twitter became our main source of news.”

M Courtney
March 8, 2018 1:17 pm

This study has a fundamental flaw.
This study only looks at ‘cascades’ and not at things that don’t cascade.
Obviously, they can’t record all the infinite number of crackpot theories that stay in the snug of a pub. But they could record the true stories that don’t cascade. That wouldn’t be perfect but it would help quantify the sampling bias of only looking at what catches on.
By only looking at what does ‘cascade’ they are begging the question of whether truth or lies are more likely to cascade. They all cascade. If it doesn’t then they don’t look at it.
So really they are just looking at which has more opportunities to cascade.
As there are more possibilities for untrue stories than true stories there will always be more opportunities for lies to cascade. There are more lies than truth. Only one world is reality.
Not every story will be as cascade-y as the others. There will be a bell curve around the centre of attention. With more lies than truth, the lies will have a taller and thus wider bell curve, even with lies and truth being treated equally. Therefore lies will almost always win the race for dissemination – and also come last too.
The study (as reported) says nothing.

March 8, 2018 1:33 pm

Fake news are stories that seem to good to be true. That’s why people spread them more quickly than real news.
Unfortunately too many people are no longer skeptical enough to check first.

Reply to  MarkW
March 8, 2018 1:55 pm

same rules as clickbait. anybody can react. 2 girls 1 cup did not get nearly the views that the spawn of ‘reaction vids’ did. the exopthalmic breathlessness and the tend show evangelism are more engaging for the spectator.
blame the spectators. this cavalcade of the effete and jejune is the main body of the populace.
it will pass because fashion is all about novelty. only kim kardashian’s butt will endure.

March 8, 2018 1:34 pm

Really this needed a study? The knowledge that a lie can travel around the globe before the truth can get its shoes on has been known for decades.
When I attended the “tute” we had better things to study. These kids must be bored.

Reply to  rocketscientist
March 10, 2018 10:16 pm

And now, RocketScientist, you’re views on The Media Lab?

Bill J
March 8, 2018 1:38 pm

This doesn’t surprise me at all. The fake news is specifically targeted towards certain groups, it’s sensational and triggers emotions. Real news is boring in comparison.

March 8, 2018 1:59 pm

Comparing climate change to chemtrails and UFO’s is pretty good indicator of the level of the discussion that is being fostered here; the same category as tooth fairies and Santa. If that’s what you want then well played.

Reply to  zazove
March 8, 2018 7:22 pm

Would you care to explain why, in your opinion, it is invalid to compare the climate change sc@m to chemtrails and UFOs?

Reply to  MarkW
March 8, 2018 10:17 pm

There’s no money in chemtrails or UFOs (yet).
With UFOs or chemtrails, the government is lying to you.
With climate, the government assures you its telling the truth.

Reply to  zazove
March 8, 2018 7:22 pm

Oh, and this time, some actual science would be nice.
Just screaming over and over again that it’s science may impress your classmates, but we would appreciate something more.

Reply to  zazove
March 9, 2018 8:43 am

Well said. Climate change is like tooth fairies with research grants.
Now, I think you did not mean to say exactly that.

March 8, 2018 2:07 pm

A lie can travel halfway round the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.
– This quote has been attributed to Mark Twain, but it did not originate with him. Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-92) attributed it to an old proverb in a sermon delivered on Sunday morning, April 1, 1855. Spurgeon was a celebrated English fundamentalist Baptist preacher. His words were: “A lie will go round the world while truth is pulling its boots on.” Even earlier, in 1710 Jonathan Swift wrote on the same topic in The Examiner.

March 8, 2018 2:09 pm

Michener wrote a book on Kent State dispelling may of the MSM lies. Nothing new.

March 8, 2018 2:52 pm

Seems right – I´m shadow banned on twitter. 🙂
I´m leaving twitter for GAB:

March 8, 2018 3:22 pm

An important side effect of this is that it is many times harder to get rid of a false idea once it has been widely disseminated. Virtue signalling media use this phenomenon all the time. A report of warmest year ever is never retracted once analysis relegates it to “not statistically different”. It isn’t just global warming though. Where are the retractions of the dozens (hundreds?) of false cancer cure claims. I am still waiting for CBC to apologize for their role in the hysteria around Y2K and again in the Swine Flu “pandemic” and again in the polar bear collapse and so on. Once a bad idea gets out there, it is really hard to get rid of it.

joe - the non climate scientist
March 8, 2018 4:03 pm

Mann’s hockey stick made it around the world lighting quick

March 8, 2018 5:11 pm

Incomplete study. From the brief description, it does not seem they sorted “good” news from “bad” news. Perhaps it is just bad news that travels faster, whether or not it is true. Bad news, storms, accidents, shootings, dramatic legal actions and so forth are surely more titillating than good. The news media certainly focuses on bad because bad sells more soap.

March 8, 2018 5:26 pm

“This may explain why so much alarming (but false) information exists about climate change, chemtrails, Fukushima radiation, UFO’s etc.”
(I don’t consider the author of this blog an all knowing/infallible God (which might explain why he persecutes me still . . though just getting his kicks can’t be ruled out entirely ; ) . . and so I don’t take such sweeping judgments too seriously.)
Consider please; “chemtrails”;
In a world wherein “climate change” is literally spoken of routinely as a grave threat by virtually all the “powers that be”, and in fact was declared the #1 national security threat the US faces, by the (last) POTUS; Does it really make sense to assume that none of the many (patented) aerosol “geoengineering” potential solutions to that supposed grave threat were never even so much tested?
That’s a nonsensical assumption, to me, to start with. And any supposed “debunking” that does not include (at a minimum) sampling the suspicious “trails” we can (I swear ; ) often see in the sky, cannot be called scientific anything, as far as I’m concerned.

Roger Knights
Reply to  Anthony Watts
March 9, 2018 2:51 am

Anthony—you wrote:

Once again, I bring that to your attention:

If your bullet-pointed items in that long list were numbered instead (easy to do), you could point him toward the exact guideline he’s violating. Ditto for future offenders.

Reply to  JohnKnight
March 8, 2018 8:31 pm

I have only made “religious” comments in response to others (derisive) religious comments . . which your policy somehow failed to prevent. Isn’t that so? Doesn’t that matter?
(You had been warned about discussing religion before, therefore you should NOT answer anyone about it) MOD
If your policy is effectively a prohibition on responding to derisive comments relating to religion (and “chemtrails” etc.), I suggest you change that policy . . it seems contradictory to the purpose/spirit/ of a scientific skepticism site . . it seems almost like “fake news” regarding the nature of true scientific inquiry and reasoning being spread about . . ; )
(The policy has been posted to you several times now, this means YOU should refrain from posting comments that YOU know violates blog rules) MOD

paul courtney
Reply to  JohnKnight
March 9, 2018 11:44 am

JohnK: I see some of the derisive comments about religion here, but I find it easy to let them go because I’m 100% secure in my faith. My impression is, you are too, but you can’t seem to let them go and instead jump into arguments with atheists that are utterly pointless on this site. Then (here’s why I’m commenting) you take offense at being persecuted. But I’m begging you, don’t bring chemlrails up again. What you see is ice. If you find that you simply must reply when someone here brings that subject up, go to the window and yell. Much more effective. Please.

Reply to  JohnKnight
March 9, 2018 1:24 pm

[Left in Moderation for Anthony’s review…]
“Then (here’s why I’m commenting) you take offense at being persecuted.”
I take offense at people persecuting others for speaking the truth as they see it . . don’t you? I take offense at CAGWites persecuting people (like our host), threatening and bullying them for being skeptical of scientific theories, which I was taught is a good thing, even a necessary thing in scientific inquiry/reasoning . . as I myself concluded before I ever came to believe in God (and still advocate is a good thing) in all forms of inquiry/reasoning . . If Anthony was doing to you, what he is doing to me, I’d speak up against it, for exactly the same reasons as I mentioned here . . I certainly hope anyway . .
” But I’m begging you, don’t bring chemlrails up again. What you see is ice.”
You were not even there . . (the hundred of times I’ve watched carefully) . . you cannot possibly know for a fact what you declared I saw, but you spoke as if you do . . as Anthony has . . I don’t want people to get the impression that casually tossing around such flat declarations of fact about things one has not observed (including sampling in such a case as this) is a valid form of scientific anything. It’s presumption, obviously.
(You have been REPEATEDLY told the rules about religious discussions, this is a SCIENCE blog, You can find many places on the internet that talks about religion and chemtrails willingly) MOD

Reply to  JohnKnight
March 8, 2018 10:42 pm

In a world wherein “climate change” is literally spoken of routinely as a grave threat by virtually all the “powers that be”, and in fact was declared the #1 national security threat the US faces, by the (last) POTUS; Does it really make sense to assume that none of the many (patented) aerosol “geoengineering” potential solutions to that supposed grave threat were never even so much tested?

Yes John, it makes perfect sense, since the powers that be are not interested in actual solutions to a problem they already know does not exist. Climate change is, to paraphrase Al Gore, a Convenient Lie.
Maybe you sometimes think you are going crazy…but it isn’t you, it’s the world.
The world will say anything do anything just to make it through the next 5 minutes. Society is ungoverned and ungovernable. It’s far far more scary than chem-trails or UFOS – which both imply that someone somewhere knows what is going on and is controlling things. The truth is that not even Goldman Sachs knows what is going on, and they too are stumbling in the dark. Welcome John, to the post truth world, where people are, finally, beginning to wake up to the idea that all of this stuff is, in the end in their minds, and it’s very difficult to say with any conviction at all, whether any of it is, in fact, not..
The only difference between the New Left and the forces of conservatism, is that the latter still believe that there is a truth out there somewhere and what people think has some relationship with it. The New Left believes that belief itself actually constructs not just the social reality, but the physical reality of the planet.
Problems can be solved by just having a positive attitude . Magic Thinking. Because Real Thinking is too damned hard.
And this is why, John, they aren’t actually doing stuff like chem-trails, or talking to UFOs or building nuclear power stations. Why bother when all political problems can be solved by virtue signalling and a positive attitude?
It;s far easier to buy some journalists up and get them to sing to the same hymn sheet than to affect the climate.
Who cares about the climate?
No one.
The only important thing, in social and political engineering is what peoplethinkabout the climate…
And here you, and I, are.

Retired Kit P
March 8, 2018 5:34 pm

If you tell a lie often enough people will believe it. Journalist only need to be told once.

Reply to  Retired Kit P
March 8, 2018 10:44 pm

Journalists are not interested in the truth, just the story.

Reply to  Leo Smith
March 9, 2018 5:37 am

Not even the story. Most journalist embraced the job as a way to change the world with their word, since they believe that belief is all that matters to physically act, as you pertinently pointed out in your previous post

March 8, 2018 8:59 pm

Fake news may travel fast but in most cases the bias of the receiver has more to do with it’s effectiveness than the speed at which it is debunked. If this were not the case Hillary and not Trump would be POTUS now.
And “fake” comes in more than one form. It’s fake emphasis or importance that dominates so much now days. What we see now in our politics is a tremendous amount of “news” that isn’t really news because most of the audience doesn’t care. Case in point the Stormy Daniels story is not having it’s intended effect despite the media continuing to pound on it simply because Trump voters don’t give a damn about it. We are bombarded with this kind of fakery every single day by the media and it serves to do nothing more than highlight the disconnect between the media which live and breath that 84 sq. miles surrounded by reality called Washington DC and most of the rest of us living in the real world.
The problem the legacy media has now days is that a great number of people have come to realize that THEY are the real fakes. They repeatedly coordinate their messages. They repeatedly lie by omission. And when that doesn’t work they lie by commission. Every bit as fake if not more than the politicians that they supposedly report on.

March 8, 2018 9:20 pm

To the extent that the Left follows their mantra: “Words are not meant to convey history, but to shape it.” — it is no wonder that they have no trouble spinning, fabricating, and downright telling lies.

dodgy geezer
March 8, 2018 11:24 pm

….the researchers were “somewhere between surprised and stunned” at the different trajectories of true and false news on Twitter….
These researchers should get out more, and learn how typical humans behave….

Roger Knights
March 9, 2018 2:40 am

“We found that falsehood defuses diffuses significantly farther, faster, deeper, and more broadly than the truth,

That solecism was in the initial quote in this article, and was presumably written by the MIT PR office.

Bloke down the pub
March 9, 2018 3:29 am

An old friend of mine died unexpectedly last week, having only just been given the all clear from cancer. Within two days I’d had several people contact me with the news from as far away as Africa. It would seem that the worse the news is, the stronger the desire to spread it becomes.

March 9, 2018 6:23 am

Some 24/7 news networks thrive on the process of pushing it globally for a fee and never mind the cleanup crew of the real story afterwards.

Gary Pearse
March 9, 2018 6:34 am

The biggest scare of all is that agenda driven types are the loudest about ‘stopping’ fake news. In relation to climate science the objective is to cut off sceptical viewpoints. Look at the cast of characters who mention this need – Al Gore, Mann ….

paul courtney
Reply to  Gary Pearse
March 9, 2018 12:02 pm

Gary P: Good point. Right before our eyes, in order to deal with a few russians who know how to set up a “bot”, Google, Facebook et al are using software to shut out a few russian bots and a billion other conservative opinions. Progs have been wanting to limit conservative opinion on the ‘net, and they are making a great leap forward; if that works we won’t be able to find this site at some point. Makes you wonder if the russian bots were in Silicon Valley all along

March 9, 2018 7:02 am

Trump is exposing the Fake News Leftwing Media for what it is: a partisan, political propaganda machine focused on showing Trump and conservatives in the worst light possible.
To properly understand what you are hearing from the Leftwing News Media you should assume that whatever they are saying with regard to politics is a distortion of reality, until proven otherwise.

Reply to  TA
March 9, 2018 7:39 am

Ha! My bias virtually always is that if the legacy media is for it then I’m against it and Visa versa. And more than 95 percent of the time I find out the information I need to form an informed opinion I have no reason to change my Stance.

March 9, 2018 8:05 am

Leo Smith above wrote, “The only difference between the New Left and the forces of conservatism, is that the latter still believe that there is a truth out there somewhere and what people think has some relationship with it. The New Left believes that belief itself actually constructs not just the social reality, but the physical reality of the planet.” Or as an Indian immigrant says, “Even in India we look to the left and right before crossing the street.”
Yes, there’s an objective truth, but there’s also a limit to our understanding of that truth caused by our physical human limitations.
Too many on the left have á priori denied that an objective truth exists and have brainwashed our youth into agreeing with them. So we end up with what M Montgomery above wrote, “For generations, we haven’t been taught reason, logic, or empiricism. How to debate in pursuit of Truth for Truth’s sake. Metaphysics. Now we’ve become a blob of “my truths” running around bouncing off each other. If it looks like madness, it is.” because even reason, logic and empirical studies are acknowledgements that an objective truth exists.
(Empiricism and empirical studies are not the same—the former is a metaphysics, the latter a methodology.)
I have come to realize that I can’t trust any government official in official statements unless he has corroboration, because I’ve been lied to too often. The same goes for most of the big name press, who have become little more than shills for government officials. As another saying puts it (I don’t know from where it comes) “In an environment of lies, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” Often also dangerous to the truth teller.

March 9, 2018 8:25 am

Fake news almost always attempts to support the wrong side of a controversial issue. It’s fast spread is due to confirmation bias.

March 9, 2018 8:37 am

My first thought with regards to motivation/cause of spreading ‘false news’ would focus between the ears of those passing it along. In a sense, “group think”, as they ‘want it to be so’ so spread the word. Personal bias of the ‘spreaders’? Those who are more rational and aware of just how much “fake or false news” are likely to wait and see if the “news” is just a bunch more horsesh*t.
“… We classified news as true or false using information from six independent fact-checking organizations that exhibited 95 to 98% agreement on the classifications. …”
Well … there’s that ~97% number again. Bias or group-think from the fact checkers? Very possible, if not likely. To include/rely on a source as accurate that checks a source for accuracy is another can of worms altogether and could be a bit slimy.
But, at least someone is looking in the right direction yet through various layers of fog.

March 9, 2018 11:00 am

Sometimes the non-fake news is worse….
But then their news and facts are fake so it ultimately is fake driven events.

March 9, 2018 4:32 pm

people often ask me how did you go from English to Statistics? well, the truth is I started undergraduate as a math and physics major, and then got interested in the mathematics of texts. As I started to work on my Phd thesis I focused on Shannon and informationn theory, specifically the concept of Novelty in a text. Short version you look for high Entropy ( Information entropy) terms. Here’s an example: “megaphone” If you look through the climategate mails you will find one mail that contains the word “megaphone” its about the founding of realclimate. Here’s another one; “squeaky clean” that phrase occurs once: in the mail jones wrote about arranging who would peer review a paper. Another example : ‘anti climate’. Occurs only a couple times. First time I saw that phrase was in Gleicks forged memo. A quick search determined that he one one of the few people to use that particular weird locution. read the comments section
High entropy for a text means that it is “surprising” or “novel” or unpredictable. If you look at texts and other cultural phenomena from this perspective what you see that is the frequency of interaction drives the rate of novelty. For example, stylististic changes in fashion that you only see occassionally ( tuxedos) occur at a lower rate than changes in style in fashion you see everyday. Make it new. Also from this purely mathematical perspective
a novelty ( high entropy) is the same for surprising new truths and flat out errors. You plot some points. You regress a line and you have 1 outlier. It sticks out. It’s not what you expect. it has a high entropy (shannon entropy ) There are always two possible reactions to this: A) its just an outlier forget it, it has no meaning.
B) Hmm, that doesnt fit, I wonder what’s going on with that bit of data.
Anyway, it was the 1980s and people in the university thought I was crazy to use math on texts. The guys at Northrop thought it was cool.. and well what happened after that is another story.

March 9, 2018 4:42 pm

and strangely the frequency of interaction also drives repetition.
Think of how “memes” develop. Some sticks together a picture and phrase. An odd combination
some novelties wear out after repetition. but some “unexpected” things “never get old”
they become, “classics”
The same principle can be applied to new product development ( ya marketing too)

March 9, 2018 10:35 pm

I read your comment with interest and tried to look deeply into your educational background. I started with information theory and Wikipedia. Being from an engineering background I think I was in over my head on this one. I found myself trying to drink my beer while standing on my head. I put sugar and milk on my potato chips and put a leash on the goldfish to take it for a walk. I shaved my toenails and cut my throat while bathing in the toilet and crapping in the bathtub. Maybe it was the entropy thing that got me. I fortunately saved myself with the use of a turbo-encabulator. The good news is that now I text the moment I get in the car and stop after every McDonalds.

Reply to  eyesonu
March 14, 2018 1:27 am

Start here
The other way to look at things is this.
A good scientific theory is just a form of lossless information compression

March 11, 2018 2:48 pm

Mark Twain’s quote has always been true, a keen observation of a human failing, only difference is the speed at which it can travel, not to mention the ease of which it can be generated. The internet is a great thing, but like anything good, a few noisy people have spoiled it, ones with idle hands…

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