Summary of The Misinformation Machine

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The dangers of fake news are well-known, but the exact mechanism by which misinformation spreads remains surprisingly obscure. Individual research studies on misinformation keep producing seemingly contradictory results. McGill University computer scientist Derek Ruths explains the reason for these research discrepancies and possible ways to resolve them. The article will engage anyone concerned with the way the internet and social media platforms spread false or deceptive information.

About the Author

Derek Ruths is an associate professor of computer science at McGill University in Canada. 



Research on misinformation has so far produced contradictory results.

Studies on the way misinformation spreads and impacts society have so far failed to provide unifying conclusions. The problem is that single studies often zero in on a small aspect of the misinformation ecosystem. For example, research by Grinberg et al. suggests that online misinformation on political issues circulates only among a very small number of Twitter users. In contrast, research by Vosoughi et al. indicates that false information, once online, spreads...

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