False Rumor (Fake) and Truth News Spread During A Social Crisis

Koohikamali, Mehrdad
Gerhart, Natalie
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During a social crisis, the truthfulness of information becomes very important, particularly in determining if the information will spark extreme social engagement. We test a research model to examine major determinants of message spread during the 2016 Charlotte, North Carolina protests which occurred after false online rumors spread related to the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott. We hypothesize relationships between message spread (retweets) and extremity, negative emotions (sadness and fear), and social ties (reciprocal reply and location proximity), and Twitter experience. Using Poisson regression, we evaluate and compare two separate models (rumor and truth). Results of the analysis indicate that rumors and truths spread differently. More extreme messages spread less if they are truths, and fear does not relate to the spread of rumors. The results of the study provide theoretical and practical insights into the current research in the areas of information diffusion and social engagement.
Data Analytics, Data Mining and Machine Learning for Social Media, rumor, truth, social network sites, social crisis
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