Examining data from as far back as 2006, a recent Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) study, published Thursday in the journal Science, has shown that false news is significantly more likely to be retweeted by Twitter users than factual stories—a whopping 70 percent more likely. Furthermore, the study found that humans are indeed responsible for this distressing slant—not bots as is often believed.
The study was undertaken because of mounting concern over how false news could negatively impact our society, particularly in relation to politics and the economy. Sinan Aral, co-author of the study, and professor at MIT's Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, was troubled by the study's findings. "There are real world and potentially negative consequences if decisions are going to be made based off falsity," he said in an interview.