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Information Cascade Model and Allegations Against Kevin Spacey

In this news article, we see that the Kevin Spacey scandal has continued to escalate after the initial accusation from a actor Spacey used to work with, as he shared his story with BuzzFeed news. Spacey was accused for sexual assaults and inappropriate behaviors. While this has brought about immense damage to Spacey’s public image and as he loses his role in the famous Netflix TV series House of Cards. But this is not the end of the story. Dozens more people who Spacey has worked with in the past have come forward with allegations against Spacey. Hence it seems like the initial accuser is not the only one who has been violated by Spacey. Yet what is interesting is that many of these incidences happen over 10 years ago, they only decide to come forward now, when they no longer work together with Spacey anymore. It is shocking the immense impact of the first person coming forwards has on the bunch of people following them to come to accusations.

This news could be explained using the information cascade model we learned in class. One individual would only choose to change from one action to the other if they are sure that the change of action would benefit them: specifically if enough of people around them have made that actions they would be more inclined to choose to change as well, if p>threshold q. Such is especially the case with introduction of a new technology. It would only benefit for the individual to use this new technology if enough of people around him is using it, for example snapchat, it would not be of use to the individual if no one around him is using it. Such a cascade model could also be used to explain Spacey’s sexual assault scandal. I believe it is only with the current power of social media and the speed of the spread of news that allow that first person to come forward with charges. He estimated that with the current power of information on the internet, if he comes forward, there likely would be other people coming forward given his knowledge of Spacey’s characteristics. Hence, that person would have analyzed such as leading to a result of his claims being validated as more people come forward. Such a model could also explain why the 20 other people at Spacey’s old work place decided to come forward with accusations just now. They would not have come forward at that time because they fear that they would not have the support if they were the only one, hence no one chose to come forward at that time. Now that there is the first person who chose to come forward, they feel like there is enough support to do the same. As well at that time, people are each individually shone from the truth because of the lack of voice as Spacey is their superior hence they fear being punished if a trend did not form and they ended up being the only ones with those charges. As a result, they did not want to risk it. It is only until now that such a cascade of accusations against Spacey has formed.


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November 2017