Researchers from WKU and Clemson University have teamed up to learn more about the role social media sites play in spreading inaccurate information during crisis situations.
WKU associate professor of communications Blair Thompson recently co-authored a study that was published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior. The study examined the impact social media had on disseminating information following a pair of school shootings that took place at Fern Creek High School in Louisville and Albermarle, North Carolina, on Sept. 30, 2014.
Thompson recently spoke to WKU Public Radio about the research findings. Here are some excerpts from our conversation:
What were you hoping to learn when you set out on this research project?
We knew there would be misinformation—that’s what happens when people go into that (a school shooting) so fast, and they’re posting whatever, and they pull off what somebody else says, and it just kind of builds from there.
I think what’s useful about the research is that we were able to pinpoint the specific areas where the misinformation occurs. We found five or six categories.