Why misinformation about COVID-19’s origins keeps going viral
Another piece of coronavirus misinformation is making the rounds. Here’s how to sift through the muck.
Twenty years ago, data scientist Sinan Aral began to see the formation of a trend that now defines our social media era: how quickly untrue information spreads. He watched as false news ignited online discourse like a small spark that kindles into a massive blaze. Now the director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, Aral believes that a concept he calls the novelty hypothesis demonstrates this almost unstoppable viral contagion of false news.
“Human attention is drawn to novelty, to things that are new and unexpected,” says Aral. “We gain in status when we share novel information because it looks like we're in the know, or that we have access to inside information.”
Enter the Yan report. On