Fake news and the way it spreads on social media is emerging as one of the great threats to modern society. In recent times, fake news has been used to manipulate stock markets, make people choose dangerous health-care options, and manipulate elections, including last year’s presidential election in the U.S.
Clearly, there is an urgent need for a way to limit the diffusion of fake news. And that raises an important question: how does fake news spread in the first place?
Today we get an answer of sorts thanks to the work of Chengcheng Shao and pals at Indiana University in Bloomington. For the first time, these guys have systematically studied how fake news spreads on Twitter and provide a unique window into this murky world. Their work suggests clear strategies for controlling this epidemic.