Everything you need to know about fake news on Twitter

How many of us have got into the trap of encountering fake news and abiding by it, considering it to be the true one?

I am sure most of us must have experienced it at least once in life, wherein, later on, we come across the actual truth.

Having the right information is the basic right of any person and Twitter’s job is to keep people updated about the happenings taking place all around the world.  But are you sure about the credibility of the news? As nowadays the news which is fake spreads faster than the true one. 

It has become difficult for people to distinguish between the true and fake news. Researchers have found that fake story has more chances to go viral than the true one. It was also found that false news was retweeted 70 percent more than the correct ones.

Twitter is an application for people to share their opinions regarding certain aspects of a global platform. But they themselves are unaware that the news which they are sharing or the news which they think is true might be a Fake News.

It is seen that fake news outperforms the true news. Fake news is not just a thing of bots but also of humans. It is found that 4.5 million tweets and retweets took place during 2006-17.

What is Fake news?

Fake news refers to the stories which are misinterpreted or false. This news is spread so as to make people believe something which is untrue. It is done to lead someone down or to blame for a mistake that is not made by them.

There can be various reasons that can lead to fake news, and all of these are ethically wrong.

Who to blame?

To find out who is at fault, research was conducted on the twitter accounts about the suspected ones who are spreading the fake stories. That’s when we realized that apart from billions of humans using social media, there are bots residing within.

So it was found that Bots who pretended to be humans were designed to find and spread false news.

You must be thinking bots to solely responsible for spreading fake news, well that’s not the case.  It was also the people who were majorly involved in spreading and retweeting the fake news. 

Wondering why people spread fake news?

We, humans, are undoubtedly smart, however, we humans are also inclined much towards emotions which lead us to spread fake news on a global platform. 

There are multiple reasons for people spreading fake news. One of them can be with the motive of humiliating others or insufficient awareness of the topic.

Fake news topics are different from true ones. Fake news tweets replies use words like a surprise, these kinds of words attract the attention of people. 

How did we come to know about Fake News?

  • The accounts used for spreading Fake news were created months before they were used, the average time between the registration and use was around 177 days.
  • A group of main accounts was used to spread the news that would mislead people. 
  • Auxiliary accounts were found amplifying the fake news pushed by the main accounts.
  • Most of the accounts were automated but later on used by individuals. Individuals used to spread true news or would make some changes in the words of the reposted content.

How to identify Fake news accounts?

There are two types of accounts that need to be analyzed and identified by you, one is the main account and the other is the auxiliary account. The main account consists of having around 10,000 followers but less of the following accounts. 

Auxiliary accounts are vice- versa, it has fewer followers and follows more than 10,000 accounts. Main accounts are used to publish new tweets whereas auxiliary accounts are supposed to retweet the content from other accounts.

Main accounts were the ones spreading the Fake news all over, sometimes pretending to be political parties, with a motive to degrade their targets. The default language of these accounts is either English or Russian. 

The motive of auxiliary accounts is to spread the news created by the main accounts by retweeting. Such accounts are created in batches or groups, many accounts are created in one day. 

Fake news bots

Social media networking sites do not like bots as they make social media networks less attractive and appealing such as Twitter, Facebook. Twitter regularly takes actions against the Fake news bots. 

The second strategy that is adopted by the Fake news bots is targeting people who have a profusion of followers, by specifically mentioning them or replying them with content which includes the link of low credibility content. 

A checklist to catch Bots

  • Have similar name accounts
  • Created on the same date
  • The same type of phrasing is used
  • They follow each other
  • Have similar bios
  • Make the same types of Grammer mistakes
  • Post link to same sites
  • Uses images or photos of other people
  • Active on parallel timings

Beware of the Fake news!

Though social media networks provide each one of us with ample information that we should be aware of, we should ensure to cross verify the credibility of news before we share it any further. 

When you share fake news, you not only share a piece of untrue information but you will also misrepresent something wrong, which will influence you and other people against the right!

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