Keeping Up with the Tweet-dashians: The Impact of 'Official' Accounts on Online Rumoring


This paper examines how ‘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, we investigate the spread of online rumors through digital traces - in this case, tweets. Our 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. Based on tweet data and connections to existing literature, we also demonstrate and discuss how mainstream media participate in rumoring, and note the role of a new breed of online media, ‘breaking news’ accounts. This analysis offers a complementary perspective to existing studies that use surveys and interviews to characterize the role official accounts play in online rumoring.

Proceedings of the 19th ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing