Fake News Spreads Faster than Real News on Twitter

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Researchers reveal that false news on social media spreads faster than real news, according to a new study published on March 12, 2018.

A team of three researchers from MIT, studied how false news spreads rapidly on social network such as Twitter, than real news

“We found that falsehood diffuses 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, co-author of the study.

“These findings shed new light on fundamental aspects of our online communication ecosystem. Somewhere between surprised and stunned” at the different trajectories of true and false news on Twitter” says Deb Roy, another a co-author of the study.

They understood that false information on Twitter does not spread due to bots programmed to disseminate inaccurate stories, instead, due to people interested in 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.

They found that false news stories have a 70 percent chance of being retweeted than true stories. It takes around six times longer for true news to reach 1,500 people than false stories takes to reach the same number of people.

They studied the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and subsequent casualties, which went viral on Twitter.

“Twitter became our main source of news. I realized that … a good chunk of what I was reading on social media was rumors; it was false news.” Said Vosoughi and Roy.


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