May 19, 2022

National Science Foundation: “How Rumors Spread on Social Media During Weather Disasters”

From the National Science Foundation:

After hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded research to investigate the broad impacts of these disasters. A year later, some of the researchers funded by awards from the agency’s Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate are reporting results produced to date. This is the second article in the series.

Jun Zhuang, an associate professor of industrial and systems engineering at the University at Buffalo, used a combination of social networking, content analysis and surveys to understand the role of social media in communicating during disaster preparedness and response.


Our research has shown that the general public is not very good at differentiating truth from rumor related to disasters. The public tends to spread rumors and is unlikely to correct false information, even after it has been debunked. On the bright side, our research also shows that the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other official governmental accounts have the power to stop rumors, especially when these agencies act quickly.

Read the Complete NSF Post

See Also: Jun Zhuang’s Research and Publications

See Also: During Disasters, Active Twitter Users Likely to Spread Falsehoods (via U. of Buffalo; May 11, 2018)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.