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Science vs Conspiracy: collective narratives in the age of (mis)information

Bessi, Alessandro and Coletto, Mauro and Davidescu, George Alexandru and Scala, Antonio and Caldarelli, Guido and Quattrociocchi, Walter Science vs Conspiracy: collective narratives in the age of (mis)information. Working Paper # /2014 ArXiv (Unpublished)

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The large availability of user provided contents on online social media facilitates people aggregation around common interests, worldviews and narratives. However, in spite of the enthusiastic rhetoric about the so called {\em wisdom of crowds}, unsubstantiated rumors -- as alternative explanation to main stream versions of complex phenomena -- find on the Web a natural medium for their dissemination. In this work we study, on a sample of 1.2 million of individuals, how information related to very distinct narratives -- i.e. main stream scientific and alternative news -- are consumed on Facebook. Through a thorough quantitative analysis, we show that distinct communities with similar information consumption patterns emerge around distinctive narratives. Moreover, consumers of alternative news (mainly conspiracy theories) result to be more focused on their contents, while scientific news consumers are more prone to comment on alternative news. We conclude our analysis testing the response of this social system to 4709 troll information -- i.e. parodistic imitation of alternative and conspiracy theories. We find that, despite the false and satirical vein of news, usual consumers of conspiracy news are the most prone to interact with them.

Item Type: Working Paper (Working Paper)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
Research Area: Economics and Institutional Change
Depositing User: Ms T. Iannizzi
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2014 11:09
Last Modified: 23 May 2016 09:05
URI: http://eprints.imtlucca.it/id/eprint/2277

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