Modeling Rumor Spreading Decisions on Social Media
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Social media platform, where people share their opinions and information, is filled with massive amount of true or false rumors. The decision maker has at least four options when facing a rumor on social media: spread, debunk, ignore, and seek confirmation first and then decide based on the information received. This paper studies the user’s decision by considering (1) the benefit of spreading true information, (2) the cost of spreading false information, (3) the cost of seeking confirmation, (4) the number of followers of decision makers, (5) the probability of rumor authenticity, and (6) the accuracy of seeking confirmation. Results show that the decision makers are more likely to spread the rumor when the number of followers, the cost of spreading false information, and the probability of falsehood are small, or when the probability of rumor authenticity, the benefit of spreading true information, and the cost of seeking confirmation are large. A real “Hurricane Harvey Immigration” rumor case study is provided, which validates the model results that decision makers with more followers are less likely to spread false information. This paper provides some new insights on understanding the social media users’ rumor spreading decisions when facing rumors.