Twitter: Fountain of Untruth

Trick question: How many characters does it take to kill truth? There are two answers: 280 Twitter keystrokes or 1.3 billion Twitter users.

“There was a time when some intelligent observers of social media believed that Twitter was a ‘truth machine’ — a system whose capacity for rapidly debunking falsehoods outweighed its propensity for spreading them,” Slate reported in March 2018. “Whatever may have remained of that comforting sentiment can probably now be safely laid to rest.”

Slate cited a study in the journal Science that found rumors on Twitter typically spread faster and farther than tweets that eventually were proved to be true. Bots, Russian or otherwise, weren’t the reason for the falsehoods. People were.

Twitter is a font of untruth and a test to Iowa’s culture of “nice.”

For the rest of the commentary, visit the Des Moines Register or click here.

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