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A Comprehensive Review on Countering Rumours in the Age of Online Social Media Platforms

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Causes and Symptoms of Socio-Cultural Polarization

Abstract

The power of rumour spreading in the age of online social media is intimidating. It can incite to insurrection, denigrate people, and damage financial markets, proving catastrophic for society. Despite widespread scholarly research and practice of developing a constellation of counter-rumour strategies, the massive waves of rumours are still sweeping over individuals, organisations, and societal institutions. To systematically tackle this issue, we present a comprehensive review and an epidemic framework to resolve three challenging aspects of rumour dissemination in online social media. First, we identify and explain the various forms of false and unverified information, relevance, and impact. Second, we address how social media can exacerbate the phenomenon of rumour spreading. Using the framework, the classification of rumour disseminating mechanisms on social media, allows us to develop counter-rumour strategies. Finally, we inspect past strategies employed in addressing rumour dissemination and use the framework to explore parallels between epidemic management and addressing rumour. We identify the highly neglected aspects of the current cumulative rumour response and factors that may be effectively targeted in the future. Our approach might support understanding social media’s role in propagating rumours and devising active measures in quelling this epidemic.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    The term “legend” refers to both traditional legends (about knighthood, ogres, witches, sleeping princesses, etc.) and modern or contemporary legends (about dating, technology, organ removal, etc.) Modern/Contemporary legends are also called urban legends which is a misnomer because those narratives do not necessarily occur in an urban environment.

  2. 2.

    In the current political climate, there is a significant disagreement in academia regarding the consumption of the term “fake news” as it became a value-loaded term linked to particular political figures (Vosoughi et al. 2018; Lazer et al. 2018); however, due to the lack of an alternative name and to avoid adding further confusion to the existing fluid terminology, we have elected to retain the term “fake news”.

  3. 3.

    To view a statement pseudoscientific, all the three conditions require to be confirmed (Hansson 2017). For example, if a commentary satisfies the first two criteria but not the third one, probably it is fraud in science or mistake in science, but not pseudoscience.

  4. 4.

    The term “science” implies science in a broad sense which comprises humanities as well.

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Correspondence to Amir Ebrahimi Fard .

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© 2022 The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.

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Fard, A.E., Verma, T. (2022). A Comprehensive Review on Countering Rumours in the Age of Online Social Media Platforms. In: Qureshi, I., Bhatt, B., Gupta, S., Tiwari, A.A. (eds) Causes and Symptoms of Socio-Cultural Polarization. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-5268-4_11

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