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ResourcesResearch IntegrityOft-quoted paper on spread of fake news turns out to be…fake news – Retraction Watch (Adam Marcus | January 2019)

Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Oft-quoted paper on spread of fake news turns out to be…fake news – Retraction Watch (Adam Marcus | January 2019)

Published/Released on January 09, 2019 | Posted by Admin on February 20, 2019 / , , , , , , , ,
 


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The authors of an much-ballyhooed 2017 paper about the spread of fake news on social media have retracted their article after finding that they’d botched their analysis.

Sometimes the irony of a forced retraction is too delicious to ignore. The story is also a painful reminder of why researchers need to triple check the data and analysis, then check it again. The career damage retractions, even self retractions, is too serious to risk.

The paper, “Limited individual attention and online virality of low-quality information,” presented an argument for why bogus facts seem to gain so much traction on sites such as Facebook. According to the researchers — — from Shanghai Institute of Technology, Indiana University and Yahoo — the key was in the sheer volume of bad information, which swamps the brain’s ability to discern the real from the merely plausible or even the downright ridiculous, competing with limited attention spans and time.
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As they reported:
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Our main finding is that survival of the fittest is far from a foregone conclusion where information is concerned.
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