Measuring the immeasurable?
A research team at Yahoo recently completed an empirical study (PDF) on the behavior of Twitter users after the 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile. The study was based on 4,727,524 indexed tweets, about 20% of which were replies to other tweets. What is particularly interesting about this study is that the team also analyzed the spread of false rumors and confirmed news that were disseminated on Twitter.
The authors “manually selected some relevant cases of valid news items, which were confirmed at some point by reliable sources.” In addition, they “manually selected important cases of baseless rumors which emerged during the crisis (confirmed to be false at some point).” Their goal was to determine whether users interacted differently when faced with valid news vs false rumors.
The study shows that about 95% of tweets related to confirmed reports validated that information. In contrast only 0.03% of tweets denied…
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