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News Picks : Why scientific misinformation abounds on the internet

By: Physics Today
05 January 2016
Washington Post: The World Wide Web is an excellent venue for the massive diffusion of information, particularly on social media sites such as Facebook. Of course, not all the information that gets spread is true. In particular, scientific skepticism and conspiracy theories have been getting a lot of mileage. According to a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the reason may be that certain groups of like-minded people are attracted to that type of information because it reinforces their personal values and beliefs. Those polarized communities of individuals then form “echo chambers” as they continue to circulate the rumors and misinformation. By better understanding how content gets diffused across the internet, climate scientists and other researchers hope to find more effective ways of reaching audiences and correcting misconceptions.

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