The Limited Reach of Fake News on Twitter during 2019 European Elections

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The Limited Reach of Fake News on Twitter during 2019 European Elections
Matteo Cinelli, Stefano Cresci, Alessandro Galeazzi, Walter Quattrociocchi, Maurizio Tesconi

(Submitted on 27 Nov 2019)
The advent of social media changed the way we consume content favoring a
disintermediated access and production. This scenario has been matter of
critical discussion about its impact on society. Magnified in the case of Arab
Spring or heavily criticized in the Brexit and 2016 U.S. elections. In this
work we explore information consumption on Twitter during the last European
electoral campaign by analyzing the interaction patterns of official news
sources, fake news sources, politicians, people from the showbiz and many
others. We extensively explore interactions among different classes of accounts
in the months preceding the last European elections, held between 23rd and 26th
of May, 2019. We collected almost 400,000 tweets posted by 863 accounts having
different roles in the public society. Through a thorough quantitative analysis
we investigate the information flow among them, also exploiting geolocalized
information. Accounts show the tendency to confine their interaction within the
same class and the debate rarely crosses national borders. Moreover, we do not
find any evidence of an organized network of accounts aimed at spreading
disinformation. Instead, disinformation outlets are largely ignored by the
other actors and hence play a peripheral role in online political discussions.

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