Home> Archive> 2023> Volume 13 Number 3 (Jun. 2023)
IJSSH 2023 Vol.13(3): 181-186
doi: 10.18178/ijssh.2023.V13.1141

Investigation Into the Spread of Misinformation About UK Prime Ministers on Twitter

Junade Ali

Abstract—Misinformation presents threats to societal mental well-being, public health initiatives, as well as satisfaction in democracy. Those who spread misinformation can leverage cognitive biases to make others more likely to believe and share their misinformation unquestioningly. For example, by sharing misinformation whilst claiming to be someone from a highly respectable profession, a propagandist may seek to increase the effectiveness of their campaign using authority bias. Using retweet data from the spread of misinformation about two former UK Prime Ministers (Boris Johnson and Theresa May), we find that 3.1% of those who retweeted such misinformation claimed to be teachers or lecturers (20.7% of those who claimed to have a profession in their Twitter bio field in our sample), despite such professions representing under 1.15% of the UK population. Whilst polling data shows teachers and healthcare workers are amongst the most trusted professions in society, these were amongst the most popular professions that those in our sample claimed to have.

Index Terms—Misinformation, social media, cognitive bias

J. Ali is with the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. E-mail: mjsa2@cam.ac.uk (J.A.)


Cite: Junade Ali, "Investigation Into the Spread of Misinformation About UK Prime Ministers on Twitter," International Journal of Social Science and Humanity vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 181-186, 2023.

Copyright © 2023 by the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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