Diffusion of real versus misinformation during a crisis event: A big data-driven approach

Kelvin K. King, Bin Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Misinformation has captured the interest of academia in recent years with several studies looking at the topic broadly with inconsistent results. In this research, we attempt to bridge the gap in the literature by examining the impacts of user-, time-, and content-based characteristics that affect the virality of real versus misinformation during a crisis event. Using a big data-driven approach, we collected over 42 million tweets during Hurricane Harvey and obtained 3589 original verified real or false tweets by cross-checking with fact-checking websites and a relevant federal agency. Our results show that virality is higher for misinformation, novel tweets, and tweets with negative sentiment or lower lexical density. In addition, we reveal the opposite impacts of sentiment on the virality of real news versus misinformation. We also find that tweets on the environment are less likely to go viral than the baseline religious news, while real social news tweets are more likely to go viral than misinformation on social news.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102390
JournalInternational Journal of Information Management
StatePublished - Aug 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Hurricane
  • Information Veracity
  • Information virality
  • Misinformation
  • Twitter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Marketing
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Artificial Intelligence


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