Fed2 Star - the newsletter for the space trading game Federation 2

The weekly newsletter for Fed2
by ibgames

EARTHDATE: March 18, 2018

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by Hazed

You may have heard the saying: “A lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth can get its boots on.” It is often attributed to Mark Twain but variations of it have been found dating much further back than his lifetime.

In these days of fake news is seems particularly apt, in fact with the world wide web a lie can probably get all the way round the world before the truth has even got out of bed.

A new report in Science magazine confirms this. Researchers found that lies spread faster than the truth. They looked at a data set of rumour cascades on Twitter between 2006 and 2017. In this period, around 126,000 rumours were spread by around 3 million people.

False news reached far more people than true rumours did. The top 1% of fake news cascades were spread to between 1,000 and 100,000 people, but true stories rarely made it to more than 1,000 people.

The falsehoods were also much faster to spread than truths.

The researchers speculate that the differences might be because of the degree of novelty and the emotional reactions of recipients – fake news inspired fear, disgust and surprise and true stories inspired anticipation, sadness, joy and trust.

The study also found that robots are not to be blamed for the spread of false news. Bots accelerated the spread of fake and true news at the same rate – it’s humans that are more likely to spread the untrue stories.

I guess the only way to overcome this is to craft your true rumours in such a way as to appeal to the baser emotions. A depressing thought!

Source: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/359/6380/1146

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