Scientists prove that truth is no match for fiction on Twitter

Researchers find fake news reaches users up to 20 times faster than factual content – and real users are more likely to spread it than bots

“Falsehood flies, and the truth comes limping after it,” wrote Jonathan Swift in 1710. Now a group of scientists say they have found evidence Swift was right – at least when it comes to Twitter.

In the paper, published in the journal Science, three MIT researchers describe an analysis of a vast amount of Twitter data: more than 125,000 stories, tweeted more than 4.5 million times in total, all categorised as being true or false by at least one of six independent fact-checking organisations.

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