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Lies spread faster on social media than truth does

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If it seems like fake news is everywhere, that may be because it is.

Falsehoods spread like wildfire on social media, getting quicker and longer-lasting pickup than the truth, researchers reported on Thursday.

A deep dive into Twitter shows that false news was re-tweeted more often than true news was, and carried further.

“Falsehood diffused significantly farther, faster, deeper, and more broadly than the truth in all categories of information, and the effects were more pronounced for false political news than for false news about terrorism, natural disasters, science, urban legends, or financial information,” the team, led bySinan Aral of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wrote in the journal Science.

“It took the truth about six times as long as falsehood to reach 1,500 people.”

And it wasn’t bots spreading most of the falsehoods, they found. It was real people doing most of it. Usually ordinary people, too, they found: so-called ‘verified’ users and those with many followers were not usually the source of some of the most popular untrue viral posts.

It might be because false statements sound more surprising, they said.

“We found that false news was more novel than true news, which suggests that people were more likely to share novel information,” they wrote.

It should come as no surprise that the internet has spawned a resurgence of fake news. Congress and the FBI are investigating evidence that Russian and other foreign users deliberately flooded social media with untrue reports and posts intended to mislead people about political candidates.

And the term “fake news” has taken on its own life, referring not only to untrue reports but being increasingly used to dismiss reports that the user does not wish to agree with.

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So Aral’s team decided to use the term “false news” instead. They also used a broad definition of “news”. “We refer to any asserted claim made on Twitter as news,” they said.

The study started with PhD research by MIT’s Soroush Vosoughi, who was struck by the false reports that spread rapidly after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, in which three people were killed and 264 injured.

“Twitter became our main source of news,” Vosoughi said in a statement. “I realized that … a good chunk of what I was reading on social media was rumors,” he added.

To objectively separate truth from lies or mistakes, Vosoughi and colleagues used sites devoted to fact-checking: factcheck.org, hoax-slayer.com, politifact.com, snopes.org, truthorfiction.com, and urbanlegends.about.com. The six sites agreed on which reports were true about 95 percent of the time, they said.

For the report, they examined 126,000 stories tweeted by about 3 million people more than 4.5 million times.

They found that false news stories were 70 percent more likely to be retweeted than true stories were.

Untrue stories also had more staying power, carrying onto more “cascades,” or unbroken re-tweet chains, they found.

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When they looked at who was spreading the wrong stuff, they found it was ordinary users of social media.

“We conclude that human behavior contributes more to the differential spread of falsity and truth than automated robots do,” they wrote.

Why retweet that post before you know whether it’s actually true?

Status, Aral said. “People who share novel information are seen as being in the know,” he said.

But don’t forget about the bots, argue Filippo Menczer of Indiana University and colleagues. They estimate that 60 million “bots” post automatic updates on Facebook and up to 48 million are on Twitter.

“The spreaders of fake news are using increasingly sophisticated methods,” Menczer said in a statement.

Why do people fall for it, whether it’s from a bot or a real friend?

“False news is more novel, and people are more likely to share novel information,” Aral said. Plus, people like to repeat information that seems to affirm their beliefs.

“People prefer information that confirms their preexisting attitudes, view information consistent with their preexisting beliefs as more persuasive than dissonant information (confirmation bias), and are inclined to accept information that pleases them,” David Lazer of Northeastern University and colleagues wrote in an editorial.

And fact-checking can backfire, they noted. “Fact-checking might even be counterproductive under certain circumstances,” they wrote. “There is thus a risk that repeating false information, even in a fact-checking context, may increase an individual’s likelihood of accepting it as true.”

They call for more high-quality research into the false news problem and what can be done about it, pointing to reforms in the early 20th century that gave rise to legitimate newspapers with ethics promoting objectivity and credibility out of the ashes of a boisterous yellow press.

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Christian Eriksen may not play football professionally again, says sports cardiologist | World News

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Danish footballer Christian Eriksen is unlikely to play professionally again after suffering what was reported to be a cardiac arrest, a leading sports cardiologist has said.

The midfielder collapsed on the pitch during his country’s Euro 2020 game against Finland and had to be resuscitated before being taken to hospital.

Eriksen, 29, was in a stable condition on Saturday night but it has not yet been publicly confirmed what was behind his illness.

Professor Sanjay Sharma is professor of sports cardiology at St George’s University in London and worked with Eriksen during his time at Tottenham Hotspur.

He said: “Clearly something went terribly wrong.

“But they managed to get him back, the question is what happened? And why did it happen?

“This guy had normal tests all the way up to 2019 so how do you explain this cardiac arrest?”

UK football bodies were likely to be “very strict” about allowing Eriksen to play again, he added.

“His cardiac arrest has rocked the entire nation today and that’s what happens. It’s not just them that it affects, it’s the psyche of so many people.

“The good news is he will live, the bad news is he was coming to the end of his career, so would he play another professional football game? That I can’t say.

“In the UK he wouldn’t play. We’d be very strict about it.”

Prof Sharma chairs the FA’s expert cardiac consensus group and is a consultant for charity Cardiac Risk In The Young.

He said the causes of Eriksen’s cardiac arrest could include an unidentified health condition or a high temperature, but reports that the footballer was awake in hospital were “a very good sign”.

“The fact he’s stable and awake, his outlook is going to be very good,” he told the PA news agency.

“I don’t know whether he’ll ever play football again.

“Without putting it too bluntly, he died today, albeit for a few minutes, but he did die and would the medical professional allow him to die again?

“The answer is no.”

Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba experienced a similar collapse after suffering a cardiac arrest during a match against Tottenham Hotspur in March 2012.

He had hoped to resume his career but retired from professional football five months later on medical advice.

One of his doctors, Sam Mohiddin, told the BBC: “The cardiac arrest is a moment of extreme peril.

“If you don’t get someone out of cardiac arrest things are over. You will not survive.

“The ongoing risk to an individual to an extent depends on the precise cause of that cardiac arrest.”

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G7 summit: Sir David Attenborough to tell G7 leaders they face biggest climate change decisions ‘in human history’ | Politics News

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Sir David Attenborough will warn G7 leaders the decisions they make this decade are “the most important in human history” as he urges them to take action on climate change.

The 95-year-old environmentalist will address the heads of the world’s leading democracies at their summit in Carbis Bay on Sunday.

During their final day of discussions, Sir David will call on them to take steps to secure the future of the planet which he says may be on the “verge of destabilising’.

David Attenborough attends a conference about the COP26 UN Climate Summit, in London
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Sir David will address G7 leaders on the final day of their summit

It comes after various climate groups staged protests across Cornwall to lobby G7 leaders on environmental issues this weekend.

In their conclusions from this weekend’s summit, G7 leaders are expected to include a pledge to almost halve their emissions by 2030 relative to 2010.

This will also include promises to end almost all direct government support for fossil fuels and the phasing out of petrol and diesel cars.

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Red arrows fly over Cornwall for G7 summit

And the G7 is also expected to commit to increasing their contributions to international climate finance to $100bn (£70bn) a year to help developing countries deal with the impact of climate change and support sustainable growth.

More on David Attenborough

Ahead of his address to world leaders, Sir David said: “The natural world today is greatly diminished. That is undeniable.

“Our climate is warming fast. That is beyond doubt. Our societies and nations are unequal and that is sadly is plain to see.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, U.S. President Joe Biden, France's President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa and South Korea's President Moon Jae-in attend a working session during G7 summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, Britain, June 12, 2021. Leon Neal/Pool via REUTERS
Image:
On Sunday, G7 leaders will again be joined by guest nations Australia, South Korea, South Africa and India.

“But the question science forces us to address specifically in 2021 is whether as a result of these intertwined facts we are on the verge of destabilising the entire planet?

“If that is so, then the decisions we make this decade – in particular the decisions made by the most economically advanced nations – are the most important in human history.”

The G7 is also set to endorse an agreement on halting and reversing biodiversity loss by 2030, including a target to conserve or protect at least 30% of land and 30% of ocean globally by the end of the decade.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has used the summit to launch a £500m fund to support countries, including Ghana, Indonesia and Pacific island states, to tackle unsustainable fishing, protect and restore coastal ecosystems like mangroves and coral reefs, and reduce marine pollution.

“Protecting our planet is the most important thing we as leaders can do for our people,” he said.

Climate protesters march along Carbis Bay near St Ives
Image:
Climate protesters march along Carbis Bay near St Ives

“There is a direct relationship between reducing emissions, restoring nature, creating jobs and ensuring long-term economic growth.

“As democratic nations we have a responsibility to help developing countries reap the benefits of clean growth through a fair and transparent system.

“The G7 has an unprecedented opportunity to drive a global Green Industrial Revolution, with the potential to transform the way we live.”

For their final day of discussions on Sunday, G7 leaders will once again be joined by guest nations Australia, South Korea, South Africa and India.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

What is the G7?

On Saturday night, the leaders enjoyed a beach BBQ in Carbis Bay and witnessed a flypast by the Red Arrows.

Critics questioned the display by nine aerobatic jet aircraft amid the summit’s focus on climate change.

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Continue Reading

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G7 summit: Sir David Attenborough to tell world leaders their decisions are ‘most important in human history’ | Politics News

Published

on

Sir David Attenborough will warn G7 leaders the decisions they make this decade are “the most important in human history” as he urges them to take action on climate change.

The 95-year-old environmentalist will address the heads of the world’s leading democracies at their summit in Carbis Bay on Sunday.

During their final day of discussions, Sir David will call on them to take steps to secure the future of the planet.

It comes after various climate groups staged protests across Cornwall to lobby G7 leaders on environmental issues this weekend.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Red arrows fly over Cornwall for G7 summit

In their conclusions from this weekend’s summit, G7 leaders are expected to include a pledge to almost halve their emissions by 2030 relative to 2010.

This will also include promises to end almost all direct government support for fossil fuels and the phasing out of petrol and diesel cars.

And the G7 is also expected to commit to increasing their contributions to international climate finance to $100bn (£70bn) a year to help developing countries deal with the impact of climate change and support sustainable growth.

More on David Attenborough

Ahead of his address to world leaders, Sir David said: “The natural world today is greatly diminished. That is undeniable.

“Our climate is warming fast. That is beyond doubt. Our societies and nations are unequal and that is sadly is plain to see.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, U.S. President Joe Biden, France's President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa and South Korea's President Moon Jae-in attend a working session during G7 summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, Britain, June 12, 2021. Leon Neal/Pool via REUTERS
Image:
On Sunday, G7 leaders will again be joined by guest nations Australia, South Korea, South Africa and India.

“But the question science forces us to address specifically in 2021 is whether as a result of these intertwined facts we are on the verge of destabilising the entire planet?

“If that is so, then the decisions we make this decade – in particular the decisions made by the most economically advanced nations – are the most important in human history.”

The G7 is also set to endorse an agreement on halting and reversing biodiversity loss by 2030, including a target to conserve or protect at least 30% of land and 30% of ocean globally by the end of the decade.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has used the summit to launch a £500m fund to support countries, including Ghana, Indonesia and Pacific island states, to tackle unsustainable fishing, protect and restore coastal ecosystems like mangroves and coral reefs, and reduce marine pollution.

“Protecting our planet is the most important thing we as leaders can do for our people,” he said.

Climate protesters march along Carbis Bay near St Ives
Image:
Climate protesters march along Carbis Bay near St Ives

“There is a direct relationship between reducing emissions, restoring nature, creating jobs and ensuring long-term economic growth.

“As democratic nations we have a responsibility to help developing countries reap the benefits of clean growth through a fair and transparent system.

“The G7 has an unprecedented opportunity to drive a global Green Industrial Revolution, with the potential to transform the way we live.”

For their final day of discussions on Sunday, G7 leaders will once again be joined by guest nations Australia, South Korea, South Africa and India.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

What is the G7?

On Saturday night, the leaders enjoyed a beach BBQ in Carbis Bay and witnessed a flypast by the Red Arrows.

Critics questioned the display by nine aerobatic jet aircraft amid the summit’s focus on climate change.

Source link

Continue Reading

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