Istituto di Scienza e Tecnologie dell'Informazione     
Coletto M., Bessi A., Davidescu G. A., Scala A., Quattrociocchi W. Misinformation in the loop: the emergence of narratives in Online Social Networks. In: ItAIS 2014 - XI Conference of the Italian Chapter of AIS Digital Innovation and Inclusive Knowledge in Times of Change (Genova, Italy, 21-22 November 2014). Atti, article n. 16. ItAIS-AISnet.org, 2014.
The interlink between information and belief formation and revision is a fundamental aspect of social dynamics. The growth of knowledge fostered by a hyper-connected world together with the unprecedented acceleration of scientific progress has exposed individuals, governments and countries to an increasing level of complexity to explain reality and its phenomena. Despite the enthusiastic rhetoric about the so called collective intelligence, conspiracy theories and other unsubstantiated claims find on the Web a natural medium for their diffusion. Cases in which these kinds of false information are used in political debates are far from unimaginable. In this work, we study the behavior of users supporting different (and opposite) worldviews - i.e. scientific and conspiracist thinking - that commented the posts of the Facebook page of a large italian political party that advocates direct democracy and e-Participation. We find that users supporting different narratives consume political information in a similar way. Moreover, by analyzing the composition of users active on the page in terms of commenting activity, we notice that almost one fifth of them is represented by polarized consumers of conspiracy stories, and those are able to generate almost one third of total comments to the posts of the page.
URL: http://www.cersi.it/itais2014/pdf/16.pdf
Subject Misinformation
Collective narratives
Crowd dynamics
Information spreading
H.2.8 Database Applications. Data mining

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