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Science vs Conspiracy: Collective Narratives in the Age of Misinformation

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 Misinformation. PloS One, 10 (2). e0118093. ISSN 1932-6203 (2015)

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The large availability of user provided contents on online social media facilitates people aggregation around shared beliefs, interests, worldviews and narratives. In spite of the enthusiastic rhetoric about the so called collective intelligence unsubstantiated rumors and conspiracy theories—e.g., chemtrails, reptilians or the Illuminati—are pervasive in online social networks (OSN). 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 conspiracy news—are consumed and shape communities on Facebook. Our results show that polarized communities emerge around distinct types of contents and usual consumers of conspiracy news result to be more focused and self-contained on their specific contents. To test potential biases induced by the continued exposure to unsubstantiated rumors on users’ content selection, we conclude our analysis measuring how users respond to 4,709 troll information—i.e. parodistic and sarcastic imitation of conspiracy theories. We find that 77.92 of likes and 80.86 of comments are from users usually interacting with conspiracy stories.

Item Type: Article
Projects: EU FET project MULTIPLEX Nr. 317532, EU FET project SIMPOL Nr. 610704
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GT Manners and customs
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
Research Area: Economics and Institutional Change
Depositing User: Caterina Tangheroni
Date Deposited: 02 Nov 2015 14:08
Last Modified: 23 May 2016 09:05
URI: http://eprints.imtlucca.it/id/eprint/2800

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