Rumor Dynamics on the Internet


Traditionally, researchers have studied rumor dynamics by using a one-way communication paradigm. But the Internet offers a more varied perspective on the complexities of rumor dynamics. Researchers such as Bordia, DiFonzo, and Rosnow (1996) have analyzed rumor discussions in cyberspace. They found that the intensity of rumors was largely dependent on the importance of the subject and the ambiguity of evidence.

Despite the numerous controversies surrounding the death of Princess Diana, one of the best-known rumors involving Diana has persisted for nearly four decades. One source for this rumor, Kiehna, denied that the earrings were two separate pairs. The rumor likely started with a viral but inaccurate claim that breastfeeding mothers should not take the vaccine. A new study suggests that the cause of the rumor is a combination of uncertainty and anxiety. The importance of the information is also a contributor.

According to the 1947 Psychology of Rumor, rumors tend to become more concise as they travel. People find it easier to spread a rumor when details become clearer and concise. For instance, a Works Progress Administration poster depicts a man attacking a wolf. Similarly, social science research has located the modern scholarly definition of a rumor to a German named William Stern, who conducted experiments on the development of rumors in a chain. In one such experiment, a rumor is said to lose 70 percent of its details in the first five-6 mouth-to-mouth transmissions.

A rumor is a false statement that has not been verified by an independent source. It is commonly used to gossip about people, events, or even places. A rumor can be a verb or a noun. A rumor is a statement that makes you want to believe it. It may contain information or misinformation and may even be true. The word ‘rumor’ is derived from the Latin word rumorem, which means “a statement or information that is circulating.

In addition to spreading rumors about events, rumors also contain statements with questionable veracity, such as those involving affairs or weapons of mass destruction. Because rumors are ambiguous, they appeal to different audiences and can be circulated by different groups. Harsin’s research builds on the previous work done by Prashant and Difonzio and further extends their findings. He also notes the distinction between rumor and gossip.