Majority of Americans were not exposed to fake news in 2016 US

first_img Email To investigate the spread of misinformation on social media, David Lazer, a political scientist at Northeastern University in Boston, and his colleagues examined tweets from 16,442 registered voters who also had Twitter accounts during the 2016 election. The demographics of the sample matched those of a 2016 Pew Research Center survey representative of U.S. voters who use Twitter, the researchers found.Then the authors created a list of fake news sources by identifying media outlets that present content with the appearance of journalism but repeatedly publish misinformation without correcting or retracting it. One of the most popular sources of misinformation identified by the study is a site called “The Gateway Pundit,” which published false headlines including: “Anti-Trump Protesters Bused Into Austin, Chicago” and “Did a Woman Say the Washington Post Offered Her $1,000 to Accuse Roy Moore of Sexual Abuse?”“If a site is repeatedly publishing inaccurate information and not correcting it, accurate news reporting is not really its goal,” Lazer says.Just 0.1% of the more than 16,000 users shared more than 80% of the fake news generated by such sites, and 80% of that fake news appeared in the feeds of only 1.1% of users, Lazer and his colleagues report today in Science. The team also found that older, more politically conservative Twitter users were more likely to view and spread misinformation.The research comes on the heels of another paper that reached similar conclusions about the spread of fake news on Facebook. That study’s lead author, Joshua Tucker, a political scientist at New York University in New York City, says that taken together the two studies suggest the majority of Americans are not sharing fake news or being exposed to it on social media. “[They] cut against the dominant narrative that fake news was everywhere on social media in 2016,” Tucker says.Still, he says, even small amounts of fake news could have an impact on the political process, and further research is needed to determine just what that impact is.Benkler adds that the findings might not apply to other countries, which have their own distinct media ecosystems. “What’s true for the U.S. may not hold in Brazil or the Philippines,” he says. “We need to extend this kind of work to the rest of the world, because this is a global problem.” Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Majority of Americans were not exposed to ‘fake news’ in 2016 U.S. election, Twitter study suggests Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country By Alex FoxJan. 24, 2019 , 2:10 PM In the run-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, a website calling itself “WTO5 News” posted the headline “Pope Francis shocks world, endorses Donald Trump for president.” Pope Francis never made such an endorsement, but that didn’t stop the story from being shared, liked, or commented on nearly 1 million times on social media. Another site, the “Denver Guardian,” posted a story titled “FBI agent suspected in Hillary email leaks found dead in apparent murder suicide” the day before the election. Social media users engaged in some way with that story more than half a million times.After the election, many experts worried the prevalence of such “fake news” on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter influenced the result. Now, a study of more than 16,000 Twitter users finds just a tiny fraction spread and saw the majority of misinformation, and that they were typically older and politically conservative. The authors say fake news may have been less pervasive on social media during the election than commonly assumed.“If fake news on social media undercuts the public’s ability to tell apart truth and fiction, then we need to do something about it,” says Yochai Benkler, a law professor and social scientist at Harvard University who was not involved in the study. “But it’s critical that we correctly diagnose the problem.” SÉBASTIEN THIBAULT last_img read more