Computing Veracity – the Fourth Challenge of Big Data

New PLOS ONE paper looking at conversations around rumours in social media

A new paper in collaboration between the University of Warwick and has now been published in the PLOS ONE journal, titled ‘Analysing How People Orient to and Spread Rumours in Social Media by Looking at Conversational Threads‘. This paper looks at conversations that are initiated by rumourous statements on Twitter during breaking news, as well as the diffusion of those rumours. The paper reveals some interesting findings regarding the role of both news organisations and end users in the diffusion of and dispute around rumours during breaking news, including:

  • True rumours tend to be resolved faster than false rumours.
  • Rumours in their unverified stage produce a distinctive burst in the number of retweets within the first few minutes, substantially more than rumours proven true or false.
  • The prevalent tendency of users is to support every unverified rumour.
  • While the level of certainty does not change over the course of the rumour lifecycles, users provide evidence in their tweets when rumours are yet to be resolved, but less so after resolution.
  • Highly reputable users such as news organisations tend to support rumours, irrespective of them being eventually confirmed or debunked, tweet with certainty and provide evidence within their tweets.

We look forward to your thoughts and comments on the paper!

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