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Correcting Misinformation on Social Media May Spread It Further

A team of scholars at the MIT Sloan School of Management found that Twitter users often double down on their bad news habits after being corrected. The study looked at 2,000 users who had shared misleading information, and it found that those who were told of the falsehoods became more likely to retweet stories from untrustworthy or politically extreme news sources, and more likely to retweet stories containing harsh or toxic language. “It made the effect of their sharing worse, in numerous dimensions,” said David Rand, one of the MIT Sloan researchers. “Being publicly corrected by another person makes them less attentive to what they retweet,” Rand added, “because it shifts their attention not to accuracy but toward social things like being embarrassed.”

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