Who Shares Fake News in Online Social Networks?


Today more and more people use social networks and so the differences in personalities of users become more diversified. The same holds true for available news content. To test if regular news and fake news are distributed similarly and to what extent this depends on the personality and behavior of individuals, we conducted a mixed-method study. Through an online questionnaire we measured personality traits of individuals in social networks, how they behave, and how they are connected to each other. Using this data, we developed an agent-based model of an online social network. Using our model, an average of 92% of regular news and 98% of fake news were disseminated to the whole network. Network density turned out to be more important for dissemination than the differences in personality and behavior of individuals. Thus the spread of fake news can not only be addressed by focusing on the personality of individual users and their associated behavior. Systemic approaches—integrating both human and algorithm—must be considered to effectively combat fake news.

In UMAP ‘19: Proceedings of the 27th ACM Conference on User Modeling, Adaptation and Personalization