Diffusion and persistence of false rumors in social media networks: implications of searchability on rumor self-correction on Twitter

Faculty/Professorship: Information Systems and Social Networks  
Author(s): Eismann, Kathrin  
Title of the Journal: Journal of Business Economics
ISSN: 0044-2372, 1861-8928
Publisher Information: Berlin ; Heidelberg : Springer
Year of publication: 2021
Volume: 91
Issue: 9
Pages: 1299-1329
Language(s): English
DOI: 10.1007/s11573-020-01022-9
Social media networks (SMN) such as Facebook and Twitter are infamous for facilitating the spread of potentially false rumors. Although it has been argued that SMN enable their users to identify and challenge false rumors through collective efforts to make sense of unverified information—a process typically referred to as self-correction—evidence suggests that users frequently fail to distinguish among rumors before they have been resolved. How users evaluate the veracity of a rumor can depend on the appraisals of others who participate in a conversation. Affordances such as the searchability of SMN, which enables users to learn about a rumor through dedicated search and query features rather than relying on interactions with their relational connections, might therefore affect the veracity judgments at which they arrive. This paper uses agent-based simulations to illustrate that searchability can hinder actors seeking to evaluate the trustworthiness of a rumor’s source and hence impede self-correction. The findings indicate that exchanges between related users can increase the likelihood that trustworthy agents transmit rumor messages, which can promote the propagation of useful information and corrective posts.
GND Keywords: Agent <Künstliche Intelligenz>; Computersimulation; Social Media; Soziales Netzwerk
Keywords: Affordances, Agent-based simulation and modelling, Sense-making, Social influence, Social media, Social networks
DDC Classification: 004 Computer science  
RVK Classification: ST 515   
Peer Reviewed: Ja
International Distribution: Ja
Type: Article
URI: https://fis.uni-bamberg.de/handle/uniba/49505
Release Date: 16. February 2021