Top FIBers dashboard tracks superspreaders of low-credibility information online
For Immediate Release
May 25, 2023
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Social media superspreaders have the ability to rapidly disseminate information, regardless of its veracity. This means they can influence consequential conversations — for better or worse — related to elections, public health and social issues.
Filippo Menczer, director of OSoMe and Luddy Distinguished Professor of Informatics and Computer Science. Photo courtesy ofIndiana University.
With the goal of tracking superspreaders that are disseminating large quantities of low-credibility content, Indiana University’s Observatory on Social Media, or OSoMe, has launched a new tool: the Top FIBers dashboard.
This dashboard provides monthly reports highlighting the top 10 superspreaders of low-credibility information on social media. Superspreaders are identified using a metric called the “False Information Broadcaster index” or “FIB index,” which captures the consistency with which users share links to low-credibility sources that are subsequently reshared many times.
For example, a user with a FIB index of 100 has shared at least 100 posts linking to low-credibility sources, each of which has been reshared at least 100 times. On the other hand, a user who shares only one post linking to a low-credibility source will have a FIB index of one, even if it was reshared millions of times.
“Research from our observatory and others has shown that a few influencers are responsible for a large proportion of low-credibility content being shared online, including harmful content such as false vaccine claims,” said Filippo Menczer, director of OSoMe and Luddy Distinguished Professor of Informatics and Computer Science. “Our new dashboard will help citizens understand the role of these bad actors in the spread of misinformation.”
OSoMe uses a definition of misinformation commonly utilized in academic research, which focuses on sources of information that mimic news media content in form but not in organizational process or intent. Using this definition, the dashboard searches for posts that contain at least one link to any source that meets three criteria: rated to have low credibility; categorized as either “conspiracy/pseudoscience” or “questionable/fake news”; and labeled as having a low or very low factual score. These ratings are curated by an independent third party, Media Bias/Fact Check, and compiled by Iffy.news.
Since a source’s credibility rating can change, OSoMe updates its list of sources each month before releasing a new Top FIBers monthly report.
The dashboard uses publicly available data gathered from social media platforms. Reports have been generated for all months beginning in January 2022 and will be updated each month moving forward.
“As the social media landscape evolves, OSoMe is constantly looking for new ways to partner with platforms on making data accessible to researchers,” said Caitlin Watkins, OSoMe’s executive director. “This tool exemplifies the public good that comes from such data access.”
OSoMe has created multiple tools and resources to promote greater understanding of how misinformation spreads online.