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Study: Fake stories 70 percent more likely to spread on Twitter than real ones

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Study: Fake stories 70 percent more likely to spread on Twitter than real ones

A new study conducted by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that false news stories are 70 percent likely to spread on Twitter than true stories.

MIT researchers looked at roughly 126,000 stories shared by around 3 million people on Twitter from 2006 to 2017.

“Falsehood diffused significantly farther, faster, deeper, and broadly than the truth in all categories of information, and the effects were pronounced for false political news than for false news about terrorism, natural disasters, science, urban legends, or financial information,” researchers wrote of their findings for the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

They noted that human users were  likely to spread false stories as opposed to bot accounts, which push real and fake stories at similar rates.

The study comes amid heightened concern about the impact that fake information spread across platforms like Twitter and Facebook can have and the role of fake news stories in shaping political discourse.

Twitter has said that it is taking steps to reduce misinformation spreading across its platform and last week said that it would begin soliciting submissions for how it can improve the “conversational health” within Twitter.

Lawmakers have heavily criticized the company for its handling of Kremlin-linked accounts its platform. Twitter has also said it is taking steps to reduce the presence of Russian bots.

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