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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 NotSanguine on Friday February 09 2018, @01:58AM (1 child)

    You do realize that the study was focused on Social Media, right? Specifically Twitter and Facebook.

    What's more, the study focused not on the specific outlets, but who was sharing them.

    I have no axe to grind either way. In fact, I began the post to which you replied by saying that I wasn't making *any* judgements about the study itself.

    If you (and so many others) have an issue with the study, take it up with the authors of the study. Which doesn't include me.

    If you go back and read what I *actually* wrote:

    It's pretty easy to just dismiss this without knowing anything about the study. I think it useful to at least look at the sampling and methodology before accepting or rejecting it. Of course, that's too much work if your biases cause you to simply accept or reject the research without understanding what was actually done (the TFS certainly doesn't give much information about that).

    I'm sick of this "discussion" which pretty much adds up to a bunch of people telling *me* that somehow I'm wrong for suggesting they apply a little bit of the old scientific method.

    I'm done. Go play in traffic or something, kid.

    No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical. --Niels Bohr
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  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 09 2018, @06:46AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 09 2018, @06:46AM (#635422)

    The sites matter.

    The way they were chosen was clearly biased. I suspect the bias comes from the selection of who gets to be on their little committee. They picked a bunch of people at a liberal university in the UK. They did not pick people who support UKIP or BNP (the brexit fans) in the rural part of the UK, and they certainly did not go any where near Trump country.

    Let me choose the committee, and the selected sites will be different. We'd find that fake news is almost exclusively shared on Social Media (specifically Twitter and Facebook) by liberals.