The Value of Information Searching against Fake News
Inspired by the Daley-Kendall and Goffman-Newill models, we propose an Ignorant-Believer-Unbeliever rumor (or fake news) spreading model with the following characteristics: (i) a network contact between individuals that determines the spread of rumors; (ii) the value (cost versus benefit) for individuals who search for truthful information (learning); (iii) an impact measure that assesses the risk of believing the rumor; (iv) an individual search strategy based on the probability that an
... ual searches for truthful information; (v) the population search strategy based on the proportion of individuals of the population who decide to search for truthful information; (vi) a payoff for the individuals that depends on the parameters of the model and the strategies of the individuals. Furthermore, we introduce evolutionary information search dynamics and study the dynamics of population search strategies. For each value of searching for information, we compute evolutionarily stable information (ESI) search strategies (occurring in non-cooperative environments), which are the attractors of the information search dynamics, and the optimal information (OI) search strategy (occurring in (eventually forced) cooperative environments) that maximizes the expected information payoff for the population. For rumors that are advantageous or harmful to the population (positive or negative impact), we show the existence of distinct scenarios that depend on the value of searching for truthful information. We fully discuss which evolutionarily stable information (ESI) search strategies and which optimal information (OI) search strategies eradicate (or not) the rumor and the corresponding expected payoffs. As a corollary of our results, a recommendation for legislators and policymakers who aim to eradicate harmful rumors is to make the search for truthful information free or rewarding.