Supersharers of fake news on Twitter

Sahar Baribi-Bartov, Briony Swire-Thompson, Nir Grinberg
Vol 384, Issue 6699 pp. 979-982
May 30, 2024


Governments may have the capacity to flood social media with fake news, but little is known about the use of flooding by ordinary voters. In this work, we identify 2107 registered US voters who account for 80% of the fake news shared on Twitter during the 2020 US presidential election by an entire panel of 664,391 voters. We found that supersharers were important members of the network, reaching a sizable 5.2% of registered voters on the platform. Supersharers had a significant overrepresentation of women, older adults, and registered Republicans. Supersharers’ massive volume did not seem automated but was rather generated through manual and persistent retweeting. These findings highlight a vulnerability of social media for democracy, where a small group of people distort the political reality for many.

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