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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: 2) by NotSanguine on Thursday February 08 2018, @10:09PM (1 child)

    by NotSanguine (285) <{NotSanguine} {at} {SoylentNews.Org}> on Thursday February 08 2018, @10:09PM (#635232) Homepage Journal

    Have you looked at the list of "Junk News" sites they listed? They were obviously cherry picked to generate the desired results. Why is a site like Breitbart on there while none of the progressive/liberal propaganda sites like Vox, Mother Jones,, etc. are?

    Since you obiously didn't read it the first time, I'm not sure why you'd do so now. I'll take the chance, but I won't hold my breath:


    For this study, a seed of known propaganda websites across the political spectrum was used, drawing from a sample of 22,117,221 tweets collected during the US election, between November 1-11, 2016. (The full seed list is in the online supplement and available as a standalone spreadsheet.) We identified sources of junk news and information, based on a grounded typology. Sources of junk news deliberately publish misleading, deceptive or incorrect information purporting to be real news about politics, economics or culture. This content includes various forms of extremist, sensationalist, conspiratorial, masked commentary, fake news and other forms of junk news. For a source to be labeled as junk news it must fall in at least three of the following five domains:

    • Professionalism: These outlets do not employ the standards and best practices of professional journalism. They refrain from providing clear information about real authors, editors, publishers and owners. They lack transparency, accountability, and do not publish corrections on debunked information.

    • Style: These outlets use emotionally driven language with emotive expressions, hyperbole, ad hominem attacks, misleading headlines, excessive capitalization, unsafe generalizations and fallacies, moving images, graphic pictures and mobilizing memes.

    • Credibility: These outlets rely on false information and conspiracy theories, which they often employ strategically. They report without consulting multiple sources and do not employ fact-checking methods. Their sources are often untrustworthy and their standards of news production lack credibility.

    • Bias: Reporting in these outlets is highly biased and ideologically skewed, which is otherwise described as hyper-partisan reporting. These outlets frequently present opinion and commentary essays as news.

    • Counterfeit: These outlets mimic professional news media. They counterfeit fonts, branding and stylistic content strategies. Commentary and junk content is stylistically disguised as news, with references to news agencies, and credible sources, and headlines written in a news tone, with bylines, date, time and location stamps.

    Sources of junk news were evaluated and reevaluated in a rigorously iterative coding process. A team of 12 trained coders, familiar with the US political and media landscape, labeled sources of news and information based on a grounded typology. The Krippendorff’s alpha value for inter-coder reliability among three executive coders, who developed the grounded typology, was 0.805. The 91 sources of political news and information, which we identified over the course of several years of research and monitoring, produce content that includes various forms of propaganda and ideologically extreme, hyper-partisan, and conspiratorial political information. We tracked how the URLs to these websites were being shared over Twitter and Facebook (see online supplement for details)

    You impute bias to the sites you mention. Into which other two domains do they fit as well?

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  • (Score: 2) by slinches on Thursday February 08 2018, @10:36PM

    by slinches (5049) on Thursday February 08 2018, @10:36PM (#635253)

    I did read the methodology and reviewed the list of sources. The sites I mentioned certainly fall under the Bias, Professionalism and Style categories and could arguably fail in Credibility as well.