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How Lies Spread Faster Than the Truth: A Study of Viral Content


Stashed in: Social Media, Pants on fire!, Echo Chambers!, Viral Content

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It’s a vicious-yet-familiar cycle: 

A claim makes its way to social media or elsewhere online. One or a few news sites choose to repeat it. Some employ headlines that declare the claim to be true to encourage sharing and clicks, while others use hedging language such as “reportedly.” Once given a stamp of credibility by the press, the claim is now primed for other news sites to follow-on and repeat it, pointing back to the earlier sites. Eventually its point of origin is obscured by a mass of interlinked news articles, few (if any) of which add reporting or context for the reader.

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