Nature

Twitter suspended 70,000 accounts after the Capitol riots and it curbed misinformation

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Download the Nature Podcast 5 June 2024

In this episode:

00:46 Making a molecular Bose–Einstein condensate

For the first time, researchers have coaxed molecules into a bizarre form of matter called a Bose–Einstein condensate, in which they all act in a single gigantic quantum state. Although condensates have been made using atoms for decades, the complex interactions of molecules have prevented them from being cooled into this state. Now, a team has successfully made a Bose–Einstein condensate using molecules made of caesium and sodium atoms, which they hope will allow them to answer more questions about the quantum world, and could potentially form the basis of a new kind of quantum computer.

Research article: Bigagli et al.

News: Physicists coax molecules into exotic quantum state — ending decades-long quest

9:57 How deplatforming affects the spread of social media misinformation

The storming of the US Capitol on 6 January 2021 resulted in the social media platform Twitter (now X) rapidly deplatforming 70,000 users deemed to be sharers of misinformation. To evaluate the effect of this intervention, researchers analysed the activity of over 500,000 Twitter users, showing that it reduced the sharing of misinformation, both from the deplatformed users and from those who followed them. Results also suggest that other misinformation traffickers who were not deplatformed left Twitter following the intervention. Together these results show that social media platforms can curb misinformation sharing, although a greater understanding of the efficacy of these actions in different contexts is required.

Research article: McCabe et al.

Editorial: What we do — and don’t — know about how misinformation spreads online

Comment: Misinformation poses a bigger threat to democracy than you might think

20:14: Briefing Chat

A new antibiotic that can kill harmful bacteria without damaging the gut microbiome, and the tiny plant with the world’s biggest genome.

News: ‘Smart’ antibiotic can kill deadly bacteria while sparing the microbiome

News: Biggest genome ever found belongs to this odd little plant

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