Journal Article Rumor Diffusion and Convergence during the 3.11 Earthquake: A Twitter Case Study

Takayasu, Misako  ,  Sato, Kazuya  ,  Sano, Yukie  ,  Yamada, Kenta  ,  Miura, Wataru  ,  Takayasu, Hideki

10 ( 4 )  , p.e0121443 , 2015-04 , Public Library of Science
We focus on Internet rumors and present an empirical analysis and simulation results of their diffusion and convergence during emergencies. In particular, we study one rumor that appeared in the immediate aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011, which later turned out to be misinformation. By investigating whole Japanese tweets that were sent one week after the quake, we show that one correction tweet, which originated from a city hall account, diffused enormously. We also demonstrate a stochastic agent-based model, which is inspired by contagion model of epidemics SIR, can reproduce observed rumor dynamics. Our model can estimate the rumor infection rate as well as the number of people who still believe in the rumor that cannot be observed directly. For applications, rumor diffusion sizes can be estimated in various scenarios by combining our model with the real data.

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