Political Fact-Checking on Twitter: When Do Corrections Have an Effect?

Drew B. Margolin, Aniko Hannak, Ingmar Weber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)


Research suggests that fact checking corrections have only a limited impact on the spread of false rumors. However, research has not considered that fact-checking may be socially contingent, meaning there are social contexts in which truth may be more or less preferred. In particular, we argue that strong social connections between fact-checkers and rumor spreaders encourage the latter to prefer sharing accurate information, making them more likely to accept corrections. We test this argument on real corrections made on Twitter between Janurary 2012 and April, 2014. As hypothesized, we find that individuals who follow and are followed by the people who correct them are significantly more likely to accept the correction than individuals confronted by strangers. We then replicate our findings on new data drawn from November 2015 to February, 2016. These findings suggest that the underlying social structure is an important factor in the correction of misinformation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalPolitical Communication
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 4 Sep 2017



  • accountability
  • fact-checking
  • misinformation
  • rumor
  • social networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science

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