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Charlotte Talks: Fake News Runs Laps Around The Facts On Social Media

Flickr / Jason Howie

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

A new study tracked the speed of misinformation online compared to the slow pace of setting the record straight. Why do we so easily believe "fake news?"

“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth can put its shoes on.” That’s never been more true in the era of weaponized social media. An exhaustive study of misinformation on Twitter found that “fake news” spread six times faster than the truth, and reached far more people.

The culprit for the accelerated speed? Not bots, according to the research, but everyday Twitter users.

What is so appealing to us about fake news and misinformation? Brian Southwell, a researcher at the Research Triangle Institute and a professor at UNC and Duke, says it’s just the way our brains are wired.

He looks at the psychology of “fake news” in the new book, Misinformation and Mass Audiences, and joins Mike Collins this hour.


Dr. Brian Southwell, Science in the Public Sphere program director, Research Triangle Institute; co-editor of Misinformation and Mass Audiences (@briansouthwell)