Who shares the most fake news on Twitter in Italy?

Who shares the most fake news on Twitter in Italy?

An algorithm analyzed months of tweets on coronaviruses and vaccines, identifying the categories that share the most reliable news and those that divulge the most disinformation.

(photo: Getty Images) Social networks like Facebook and Twitter have long started to fight disinformation by adopting different techniques and approaches. Despite the presence of collaborations with fact-checkers, however, fake news always find a way to be disseminated to large audiences on online platforms. But what is the category of profiles that tend to share the most fake news? Thanks to an analysis conducted through an algorithm by Iconsulting, it turns out that in Italy it is the politicians who share the most hoaxes, closely followed by activists and entrepreneurs. The percentage of reliability of the tweets published by Italian politicians is equal to 56%, and the figure refers to about 1042 tweets and 14,161 retweets.

A worrying revelation, also in light of the fact that during the initial period of the pandemic and with the start of the vaccination campaign, fake news has undergone a significant surge. Confirming this trend are the reports of the Postal Police and the Annual Report on Information Security Policy, which report an increase in fake news equal to 436% compared to the previous year.

Politicians and activists share more fake news in Italy (image: Iconsulting) Moreover, with the arrival of anti-Covid vaccines, a real infodemic of imaginative assumptions, plots and contradictory news has occurred online. A dangerous phenomenon, that of the spread of fake news on vaccines, which has even prompted the Ministry of Health to dedicate a page of its website to their timely denial.

Iconsulting carried out an analysis on the tweets published by the Italian profiles between 27 December 2020 and 19 April 2021, with a particular focus on those who used the hashtags #vaccino, #vaccini, #novax, #astrazeneca, #PfizerBioNTech, #Moderna and #Sputnik. The purpose of the Italian data-driven transformation company was to use an algorithm created for the occasion in order to find out which was the category that most of all shared false news.

In addition to having condemned the politicians, the algorithm has identified that the most reliable category is that of government bodies (with a reliability of 99%) which throughout this pandemic period have been one of the most reliable sources of information. Obviously when it comes to viruses, diseases and vaccinations, the profiles belonging to the world of health have proved to be a precious item, with a reliability index of 91%. The same can be said of traditional media, which - despite the vulgarity - with 90% reliability have proved to be an authoritative, reliable and verified source of information.

An algorithm for finding disinformation

“To design actions to combat disinformation we used an approach based on the phenomenon of the so-called echo-chamber and on the analysis of the correlations between users who share unreliable content”, a spokesperson for Iconsulting explained to Wired. By exploiting machine learning, the algorithm was able to learn to recognize, thanks to an initial set of data, whether a news was true or false, then assigning a score from 0 to 1 to the tweets analyzed. At this point, the score can also be attributed to users based on how they interact with the tweets examined.

This has shown that satirical profiles, ie cartoonists, authors and bloggers, on Twitter are much more reliable profiles of politicians. The reliability index of the world of Italian satire, which seems to feel the responsibility of an important role by committing to spreading reliable news, is 80% against a very low 56% of politicians. An example of how satire has managed to convey reliable information is Andrea Lorenzon with his Cartoni Morti channel.

Another fact that emerges from the analysis of the algorithm is that the category of entrepreneurs, who most of all in this period they should support the restart of the country by focusing on the vaccination campaign, it has recorded a decrease in the reliability of the tweeted news, passing from 65% to 57%.

In all this, Twitter continues its internal struggle to fake news by tagging misinforming news where possible and inviting users to read an article before sharing it again without even opening it. These tricks, which still allow users to have an overall picture of the information regardless of their truthfulness, have allowed the social network to decrease the sharing of fake news in a delicate moment where it is enough for a word like "thrombosis" to reach uninformed ears. to break confidence in a life-saving vaccine.

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Coronavirus Fake news Social Network Twitter Coronavirus vaccine globalData.fldTopic = "Coronavirus , Fake news, Social Networks, Twitter, Coronavirus vaccine "

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