Fake news, which is false or misleading content intentionally dressed up to look like news articles, has been a much-talked topic since the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Social networking sites, especially Facebook, have been a boon for its users to come across misleading items. More confusion arises when users share the items within their networks. A new study has examined the mechanisms behind the spread of fake news on Facebook.
Andrew Guess of Princeton University and Jonathan Nagler and Joshua Tucker of New York University conducted a survey with 1,331 Facebook users. With permission from the users to get access to their accounts, the researchers studied the pages they followed and the posts they engaged with.
Results showed that around 9 percent of users shared stories from untrustworthy sites as catalogued by BuzzFeed News’ Craig Silverman. Users over 65 shared nearly seven times as many articles from fake news domains as the youngest age group. Eleven percent of users aged 65 years old and up shared a hoax, whereas only 3 percent of users 18 to 29 years old did the same thing. Conservatives were more likely to share articles from fake news domains, which in 2016 were largely pro-Trump, than liberals or moderates.
To read the full text of the study: https://bit.ly/2UQ2xhB
Guess, A., Nagler, J., & Tucker, J. (2019). Less than you think: Prevalence and predictors of fake news dissemination on Facebook. Science advances, 5(1), eaau4586.