The Diffusion of False Ideas Through Social Media
36 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2018
Date Written: December 9, 2018
This research studies the diffusion of false ideas through social media, while under competition from other ideas. Using mined social media data surrounding the hunt for the perpetrators of the Boston Marathon Bombings, the paper seeks to understand why and how false ideas spread. Results indicate that while social media provides for an engaging and rapid dissemination of information and novel theories, its dynamics may risk the veracity of information and promote the widespread adoption of false ideas. Empirical analysis suggests that a traditional contagion driver—the quality of the messenger—does not matter while the dynamics of a discussion stream (polarization and momentum) plays an important role.
Keywords: Social Media, Diffusion, Contagion, Rumors
JEL Classification: D89, D26, D79
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation