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posted by martyb on Thursday February 08 2018, @11:20AM   Printer-friendly
from the it's-a-right-wing-thing dept.

Fake News Sharing in US is a Right-Wing Thing, Says Study

A study by researchers at Oxford University concluded that sharing fake and junk news is much more prevalent amongst Trump supporters and other people with hard right-wing tendencies.

From the Guardian:

The study, from the university's "computational propaganda project", looked at the most significant sources of "junk news" shared in the three months leading up to Donald Trump's first State of the Union address this January, and tried to find out who was sharing them and why.

"On Twitter, a network of Trump supporters consumes the largest volume of junk news, and junk news is the largest proportion of news links they share," the researchers concluded. On Facebook, the skew was even greater. There, "extreme hard right pages – distinct from Republican pages – share more junk news than all the other audiences put together.

Polarization, Partisanship and Junk News Consumption over Social Media in the US

What kinds of social media users read junk news? We examine the distribution of the most significant sources of junk news in the three months before President Donald Trump's first State of the Union Address. Drawing on a list of sources that consistently publish political news and information that is extremist, sensationalist, conspiratorial, masked commentary, fake news and other forms of junk news, we find that the distribution of such content is unevenly spread across the ideological spectrum. We demonstrate that (1) on Twitter, a network of Trump supporters shares the widest range of known junk news sources and circulates more junk news than all the other groups put together; (2) on Facebook, extreme hard right pages—distinct from Republican pages—share the widest range of known junk news sources and circulate more junk news than all the other audiences put together; (3) on average, the audiences for junk news on Twitter share a wider range of known junk news sources than audiences on Facebook's public pages.

[Ed. note: page is loading very slowly; try a direct link to the actual report (pdf). --martyb]

Original Submission #1Original Submission #2

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Unixnut on Thursday February 08 2018, @08:54PM

    by Unixnut (5779) on Thursday February 08 2018, @08:54PM (#635190)

    Truth to be honest, I don't actually care. I'm not American, and I don't support either side of the same turd coin that the majority of you seem to cheer for.

    However, due to the size and capacity of the USA, and their global reach (and because every single Tech site in English seems to have a selection of Americans willing to rant about it), I can't help but get constant "Fake news" information from basically both sides of the coin. And it is always the same crap:

    News item: "Trump gets pissed on by prostitutes/Colluded with Russians/Stole election"
    R's: "Fake News"
    D's: "Gospel Truth"

    News item: "Hillary colluded with Russians for uranium/tried to steal election/$some_reason, etc..."
    R's: "Gospel Truth"
    D's: "Fake News"

    And so on and so on. Every single piece of news is either "Gospel Truth" or "Fake news". There is no way to actually have a reasoned debate about it.

    "Fake News" has just become a moniker, yet another way to divide Americans bitterly. Just look at the responses on the site. I imagine some posters were literally foaming at the mouth as they typed their retorts.

    And like you nicely put, it has been devalued to the point of meaningless. Anyone can define "fake news" just like they can define "hate speech". It is a very dangerous precedent, that people seem to be missing in their strong urge to beat upon "the other side".

    Sure, you can claim it once had a clearly defined meaning (just like "hate speech" did), but as always in politics, its get redefined, and twisted and turned to suit the purposes of whoever is using it.

    If "fake news" was just limited to the USA, I might not even care that much, however now my local politicians have taken to defining news which they disapprove of as "fake news", which really complicates the ability to have a reasoned debate. Plus you can't accuse them of stifling the opposition/alternative viewpoints because they just point to that "Bastion of Free speech"/"Leader of the free world", the USA, so if the US can do it, so can they.

    How do you debate with someone whose starting argument is that everything you say is fake, and therefore not worth responding to? For many, the result is to just declare that the other sides news is also "fake", and then you get a societal split with two echo chambers self reinforcing their reality.

    Not to mention this has got two sides of America locked in an increasingly bitter (and violent) conflict, while your country is degrading, the economy is going to shit, and we are teetering on the edge of possibly another big war in the middle east that could escalate quickly into a global confrontation.

    Talk about a case of a population wide "missing the forest for the trees".

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