International Conference on Social Informatics

SocInfo 2014: Social Informatics pp 259-268 | Cite as

Social Determinants of Content Selection in the Age of (Mis)Information

Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8851)


Despite the enthusiastic rhetoric about the so called collective intelligence, conspiracy theories – e.g. global warming induced by chemtrails or the link between vaccines and autism – find on the Web a natural medium for their dissemination. Users preferentially consume information according to their system of beliefs and the strife within users of opposite worldviews (e.g., scientific and conspiracist) may result in heated debates. In this work we provide a genuine example of information consumption on a set of 1.2 million of Facebook Italian users. We show by means of a thorough quantitative analysis that information supporting different worldviews – i.e. scientific and conspiracist news – are consumed in a comparable way. Moreover, we measure the effect of 4709 evidently false information (satirical version of conspiracist stories) and 4502 debunking memes (information aiming at contrasting unsubstantiated rumors) on polarized users of conspiracy claims.


misinformation collective narratives crowd dynamics information spreading 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IUSS Institute for Advanced StudyPaviaItaly
  2. 2.IMT Alti Studi LuccaLuccaItaly
  3. 3.ISC-CNR Uos “Sapienza”RomaItaly
  4. 4.Laboratory for the Modeling of Biological and Socio-technical SystemsNortheastern UniversityBostonUSA

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