NBER

Marcos Fernandes

Economics Department
Stony Brook University
100 Nicolls Road
Stony Brook, NY 11794

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: Stony Brook University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

March 2018Social Media Networks, Fake News, and Polarization
with Marina Azzimonti: w24462
We study how the structure of social media networks and the presence of fake news might affect the degree of misinformation and polarization in a society. For that, we analyze a dynamic model of opinion exchange in which individuals have imperfect information about the true state of the world and are partially bounded rational. Key to the analysis is the presence of internet bots: agents in the network that do not follow other agents and are seeded with a constant flow of biased information. We characterize how the flow of opinions evolves over time and evaluate the determinants of long-run disagreement among individuals in the network. To that end, we create a large set of heterogeneous random graphs and simulate a long information exchange process to quantify how the bots’ ability to spr...

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