Study. Social media has often been criticized for spreading rumors and unreliable information too fast and that legacy media and their ‘official’ account can ‘regulate’ that with reliable journalism. However, a new study show how these official accounts participate in the propagation and correction of online rumors in the context of crisis events.
Using an emerging method for interpretive analysis of ‘big’ social data, the researchers from the Department of Sociology at University of Washington investigated the spread of online rumors through digital traces in tweets.
Their study suggests that official accounts can help to slow the spread of a rumor by posting a denial, and supported by reflections from an organization that recently dealt with a rumor crisis offers best practices for organizations around social media strategies and protocols.
But based on tweet data and connections to existing literature, they also demonstrate how mainstream media participate in rumoring, and note the role of a new breed of online media, ‘breaking news’ accounts.