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Twitter: Students' Perceptions of Tweet Credibility
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Anyone can upload news instantaneously to Twitter in 140-characters or less, therefore it is important to assess the credibility of tweets, particularly during a foodborne illness outbreak. According to a Microsoft study there are numerous Twitter features that impact the credibility of tweets. This study examines students’ use of Twitter, and their perceptions of how features and sources impact the credibility of tweets related to a foodborne illness. An online survey was completed by Texas A&M University students classified as U3 juniors (N = 200) in social science-based majors in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The study revealed students to be moderate users of Twitter. Eight features were identified to impact credibility: verified author topic expertise, account has verification seal, tweet contains grammar/punctuation mistakes, author is someone you’ve heard of, author is often mentioned/retweeted, author often tweets on topic, and author has many followers. Three Twitter identities a professor, student, and student organization, were created to measure tweet credibility. Tweets from the professor were perceived more credible than tweets attributed to student or student organization. The results indicated statistical differences between features attributed to each source. These findings can help sources determine what features can make tweets the most credible. This study has important implications for organizations that engage consumers on Twitter when breaking news such as a foodborne illness outbreak occurs.
Black, Caroline Kemp (2013). Twitter: Students' Perceptions of Tweet Credibility. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from