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Anatomy of a Twitter Rumor

Like a match to a fireworks factory, the hacked AP account ignited rumors that President Obama had been hurt in a terrorist attack causing a hundred billion dollar drop in the stock market. What was even more significant about the Hash Crash was the ability of Twitter users to suppress the rumor and cause the market to rally within minutes despite how quickly and far the rumor spread.

This session by Gnip data scientist, Dr. Scott Hendrickson, will look at the anatomy of a Twitter rumor, how it spreads, how Twitter users react with accurate information and how rumors die. Looking at a bank run, the rumors from Hurricane Sandy and the Hash Crash, we’ll see why Twitter users are good at ferreting out fact from fiction and how to recognize the difference on Twitter.

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. How does a rumor start on Twitter and what path does it take?
  2. What are the factors that cause a rumor to be suppressed?
  3. What can an organization do if there is a rumor circulating about them on social media?
  4. What are the pitfalls and upsides of information sharing in 140 characters?
  5. How does news spread on Twitter?



Elaine Ellis, Marketing Manager, Gnip

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