…a team of researchers at Northeastern University, led by Walter Quattrociocchi, decided to study how it is that erroneous information jumps the credibility fence and becomes widely believed to be true. Their theory ,… is that it has something to do with the kind of people who read “alternative” news, because they’re generally mistrustful of the mainstream media.
The team studied some 2 million Facebook users to see how they interacted with various pieces of content about the 2013 political election in Italy—stories from traditional news sites, alternative publications, and niche political sites. They then interjected 2,788 untrue or satirical “troll” posts to compare.
The researchers found that people engaged with the bunk posts even more and for even longer than the accurate reports, and they wound up triggering several viral stories, underlining “the effect of Facebook on bursting the diffusion of false beliefs when truthful and untruthful rumors coexist,” the report states.
Logically enough, the folks who were more prone to reading alternative websites (defined as “pages which disseminate controversial information, most often lacking supporting evidence and sometimes contradictory of the official news”) were also more likely to buy into a conspiracy theory. … those radical readers are A) less adept at parsing accurate information and B) already skeptical of mainstream journalism, and looking for an different take.
Google Plus never was, and will never be, only about competing directly with Facebook.
From its launch through today, everyone viewed Google Plus as “Google’s version of Facebook,” because that’s the only sticky, simple headline that we can wrap our brain around. Most people believe it’s just another social networking service where all of our friends are supposed to join and share photos, status updates, and messages with each other. But it’s really not that at all.
GOOGLE PLUS’S BRILLIANT METHOD OF GAINING NEW USERS IS PLAYING OUT RIGHT IN FRONT OF OUR EYES, BUT NO ONE RECOGNIZES IT.
Sure, there’s a social networking aspect to it, but Google Plus is really Google’s version of Google. It’s the groundwork for a level of search quality difficult to fathom based on what we know today. It’s also the Borg-like hive-queen that connects all the other Google products like YouTube, Google Maps, Images, Offers, Books, and more. And Google is starting to roll these products all up into a big ball of awesome user experience by way of Google Plus, and that snowball is starting to pick up speed and mass.
We all glommed onto the concept of “Google’s version of Facebook,” and focused only on comparing the similarities and differences between the two (such as number of users it had, whether “Circles” are “good,” and how “hangouts” are weird). But in reality, none of that matters. I happen to think Circles are a slightly smarter way to organize your personal connections, but it’s a “feature” that Facebook could copy with their eyes closed in a single hackathon. It is not the kind of thing that decides success or failure.
What makes Google Plus different is that it is the new backbone of a company that does search better than anyone already—something Facebook could never compete with. You use Google to search, right? Well, imagine if Google knew every piece of data about you that Facebook knew. Imagine how better equipped they would be to serve you what you are looking for. Google Plus is a way of entrenching Google’s dominance in that area, not a way of stealing Facebook users. If you are in first place, that’s the time to accelerate your lead.
Google Plus’s brilliant method of gaining new users is playing out right in front of our eyes, but no one recognizes it.
Next to Google+, Facebook is proving to be the social-networking behemoth.
Facebook users spent an average of 7.5 hours on the site during January, according to stats released today by research firm ComScore and detailed by The Wall Street Journal. These numbers dwarf all other social networking sites, most notably Google+ where users racked just 3.3 minutes for the whole month.
In fact, Google+ users are spending increasingly less time on the site as the months go by. In December users spent 4.8 minutes, down from November when users spent 5.1 minutes, according to Bloomberg.
What a huge difference between the amount of time users spend on Google+ and Facebook. I wonder how long Google will let this experiment continue before it kills off Google+?