Rumors at the Speed of Light? Modeling the Rate of Rumor Transmission during Crisis


Social media have become an established feature of the dynamic information space that emerges during crisis events. Both emergency responders and the public use these platforms to search for, disseminate, challenge, and make sense of information during crises. In these situations rumors also proliferate, but just how fast such information can spread is an open question. We address this gap, modeling the speed of information transmission to compare retransmission times across content and context features. We specifically contrast rumor-affirming messages with rumor-correcting messages on Twitter during a notable hostage crisis to reveal differences in transmission speed. Our work has important implications for the growing field of crisis informatics.

Proceedings of the 49th Hawaii International Conference on Systems Science