Excess Information Triggers Fake News

Science Fields

We’re living in a country with quite a busy agenda. We are easily defeated by the impetus to “immediately share” without checking (or feeling the need to check) whether the news or their photographs are real, and thus we contribute to the circulation of fake and fabricated news in the social media. Quite often, we do not even realise we are being manipulated, possibly believing we are doing the right thing as individuals with “a high social awareness”.

This is not peculiar to us, but a universal problem. The study of Xiaoyan Qiu and Diego Oliveira focuses on the answer to the question of “How did it come to this?” and their article was recently published Nature Human Behaviour.

"Our results show for the first time that low- and high-quality information have the same chances to succeed," says Oliveira. “And such a lack of discrimination is a result of our limited attention and the amount of information (to which) we are exposed.”

In 2013, the World Economic Forum listed the threat of digital misinformation as one of the top risks to be controlled. That is because false news and hoaxes have the same dispersal potential as accurate information from a genuine source: almost like a virus.

Human-like “News” bots!

Algorithms called "bots" sharing news on social media behind fake profiles pump thousands of news every day. Most of these are bundles of ropey information generalised as “news”, with no particular source or truth. Needless to say, they multiply by sharing.

As consumers of information on social platforms, what we need to do is simple: check the news source, read things critically, follow reliable media accounts, and unfollow channels if we doubt their reliability. 


  • 1. https://m.phys.org/news/2017-06-overload-fuels-fake-news.html
  • 2. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41562-017-0132