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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.

http://comprop.oii.ox.ac.uk/research/polarization-partisanship-and-junk-news/

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


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  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday February 13 2018, @02:21AM (2 children)

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 13 2018, @02:21AM (#636942) Journal
    Now that you described how these evolve, what does this have to do with Lamarckism? The classic example was speculation about giraffes, that giraffes got those long necks because some animal had to stretch its neck to eat leaves. Then that need to stretch the neck (rather than Darwism's counterview that giraffes with longer necks were the survivors) became an inherited characteristic with children having longer necks as a result and eventually ending up at present where apparently there is no further need to stretch the neck longer.

    The cultural analogue might be immigrants from some part of the equatorial regions who don't celebrate any sort of winter holiday move to the Arctic Circle and start celebrating Christmas. Does that mean that there are genetic changes in any subsequent children as a result to celebrate Christmas better?
  • (Score: 2) by meustrus on Tuesday February 13 2018, @02:52PM (1 child)

    by meustrus (4961) on Tuesday February 13 2018, @02:52PM (#637118)

    Of course it doesn't mean genetic change. But given Lamarck's time in history I really doubt any of it had to do with genetics.

    The profound difference is, as you say, that adaptation during an organism's life is passed down to offspring rather than randomized variations resulting in different biology that win out over generations of natural selection. The question is: does the evolution of knowledge more often follow the former pattern or the latter? How often do we humans get it right and pass the truth on to our children, and how often do we just generate a huge number of hypotheses for only a few correct ones to survive?

    --
    If there isn't at least one reference or primary source, it's not +1 Informative. Maybe the underused +1 Interesting?
    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday February 13 2018, @03:20PM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 13 2018, @03:20PM (#637136) Journal

      Of course it doesn't mean genetic change. But given Lamarck's time in history I really doubt any of it had to do with genetics.

      To the contrary, it does. Lamarck and Darwin didn't know how traits were stored in the organism, but they were quite able to speculate on how those traits were passed on.

      The question is: does the evolution of knowledge more often follow the former pattern or the latter?

      It follows neither pattern. The key difference is that knowledge can become greatly modified over the course of a single human's lifespan (even in the days before civilization and the potential for massive technological progress) and can be passed on by a variety of means other than inheritance. Meanwhile inherited biological traits remain very similar as they are passed on. The genetics of a grandchild is not very different from that of the grandmother, but the knowledge and beliefs can be very different and come from sources other than the grandchild's ancestors.