Get Back! You Don’t Know Me Like That: The Social Mediation of Fact Checking Interventions in Twitter Conversations
Keywords:fact-checking, misinformation, twitter
The prevalence of misinformation within social media and online communities can undermine public security and distract attention from important issues. Fact-checking interventions, in which users cite fact-checking websites such as Snopes.com and FactCheck.org, are a strategy users can employ to refute false claims made by their peers. While laboratory research suggests such interventions are not effective in persuading people to abandon false ideas, little work considers how such interventions are actually deployed in real-world conversations. Using approximately 1,600 interventions observed on Twitter between 2012 and 2013, we examine the contexts and consequences of fact-checking interventions.We focus in particular on the social relationship between the individual who issues the fact-check and the individual whose facts are challenged. Our results indicate that though fact-checking interventions are most commonly issued by strangers, they are more likely to draw user attention and responses when they come from friends. Finally, we discuss implications for designing more effective interventions against misinformation.