A report published by The New Scientist this week reports that about a quarter of all Tweets are “not credible.”
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology analyzed about 60 million tweets covering 1000 news events over three months in 2014. Even after filtering out obvious spam, they concluded that about 25% of all tweets were of questionable credibility.
The most popular hoax, they found, was the Ebola Zombie which circulated from August through around October.
While Twitter is a favorite source of breaking news for bloggers and journalists, fake news and false tweets have been known to fool even seasoned writers on occasion. A fake tweet allegedly from the Associated Press in 2013, for example, was credited with costing Wall Street $200 billion. Fake news generators such as Mediamass regularly fool readers, while the rise of fake news sites disguised as satire have become pervasive. And it’s not just the tweets themselves that are questionable. In late 2013, a study found that about 10% of all Twitter accounts at that time were fake.
Researchers behind the study have made their database known as CREDBANK publicly available in hopes that others can use it to build apps to filter out questionable tweets. Some have questioned if such a database can operate in real-time, as it took researchers 3 months to analyze 60 million tweets – verses the approximately 500 million tweets which are sent every day.
Source: “Hoax spotter finds a quarter of everything on Twitter is false” The New Scientist, June 3, 2015