Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Hoaxes Are Taking Over Twitter

Several years ago, we believed Twitter was the self-correcting arm of the internet. Any false information that flowed in, the arm picked out.

A 2018 study published in Science Magazine says that’s bogus.

Not only does false information spread across the internet, but it does so quicker than the truth.

The researchers’ first thought was, “Bots are spreading fake news.”

Turns out the hunch was wrong.

Bots don’t spread the majority of misinformation. People do.

The MIT scholars analyzed 126,000 Twitter rumors from 2006 to 2017 and found that lies traveled “farther, faster, deeper, and more broadly than the truth in all categories of information.“

The most exciting lies trickled into the news feeds of 1,000 to 100,000 people. Whereas the truth rarely spread to more than 1,000 people.

Why?

The researchers don’t give a definitive answer, but do point to the most likely candidate: novelty.

It’s human nature to want to be on top of things.

So the newer the rumor, the more likely it was retweeted. And seeing how truth-finding takes time, it’s no wonder easily-made lies spread far and wide.

It seems like hoaxes are taking over Twitter. And although the CEO promised to improve the validity of the platform’s content, little progress has been made in protecting the truth.

Perhaps it can’t be done.

Maybe lies will always outdo the truth.

As a wise person once said, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach