Akeed – Aya Khawaldeh
The number of rumors went down to 46 in December against 54 in November, Akeed said in its monthly statistical report.
The media was still a key player in circulating rumors, as it was responsible for spreading 17 rumors in December (or 37% of the total). This is close to last month’s figures, when the media circulated 19 rumors, representing 35.1% of the total in November.
Political and Economic rumors accounted for nearly a quarter of rumors in December. Health rumors, monitored for the first time by Akeed, accounted for nearly 15% of the total. It is worth noting that the month in question saw a spike in health rumors due to increased speculation about the H1N1 flue.
Akeed’s quantitative and qualitative analysis examined rumors circulated across news sites, social as well mainstream media. It found that the vast majority of rumors (43 representing 93.5% of the total) came from local sources. Only three rumors, representing 6.5%, came from outside Jordan.
Akeed showed that the majority of rumors detected in December: 29 rumors representing 63% of the total got started on social media platforms. Except for one rumor which first appeared on pages run by Jordanian expatriates, all other rumors were initially posted on local social networking sites.
Media outlets spread 17 rumors (37%), 15 of which were first posted by local media. One rumor was posted by Hebrew media and another by regional media channels.
Of the 46 rumors detected and verified in December, 12 revolved around economic issues and another 12 rumors revolved around politics. Combined, they represented nearly a quarter of total rumors during the month. The number of social rumors stood at 10, constituting 21.8%, while health rumors made around 15% of the total. Only five rumors were related to security issues, accounting for 11% of the total.
From “Social Networks” to Media Outlets
Only two rumors spread from social networking sites to news sites in December. This compares with six rumors the month before, according to Akeed.
Key rumors that spread from social media platforms to mainstream media:
Key Issues and Rumors
For the purpose of the analysis, Jordan Media Credibility Monitor “Akeed” developed a methodology for detecting rumors. In this report, a rumor is defined as “incorrect information pertaining to a Jordanian public affair or to Jordanian interests circulated among over 5,000 people via digital media.”
In dealing with content produced by social media users, Akeed believes the general rule is to stay away from sharing posts until the content is verified through a reliable source. Dependence on social media users as a source of news without taking into account the accuracy of information leads to the spread of false information and rumors, explains Akeed.
It is worth noting that Akeed has developed and published a set of fundamental principles that help verify content, whether visual, written, or audio, produced by users. Before taking a decision to share any content, a set of questions should be raised, advises Akeed.
Typically, rumors flourish during turbulent times; e.g. crises, wars, and natural disasters. This does not mean that rumors will not spawn when things are normal. It is widely known that rumors fly high in certain social, political, and cultural environments. Their reach also depends on the level of mystery engulfing them as well as the importance and impact of their subject, according to the online portal.