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The real consequences of fake news

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posted on Jul, 28 2017 @ 09:34 PM
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Link to Source Article: The real consequences of fake news



Even though the rise of fake news in recent months is undeniable, its impact is a different story. Many argue that fake news, often highly partisan, helped Donald Trump get elected. There was certainly evidence of fake news stories getting a lot of traction on social media, at times even outperforming actual news stories.

However, a closer analysis shows even the most widely circulated fake news stories were seen by only a small fraction of Americans. And the persuasive effects of these stories have not been tested.

It's likely that they were shared primarily as a way to signal support for either candidate, and not as evidence of news consumers actually believing the content of the story. This raises questions about whether fake news has any real impact at all and whether we, as a society, should be worried about it.

So, "fake news" is not much to worry about based upon this research. But, that does not mean there is no impact at all.

The real impact of the growing interest in fake news has been the realization that the public might not be well-equipped to separate quality information from false information. In fact, a majority of Americans are confident that they can spot fake news. When Buzzfeed surveyed American high schoolers, they too were confident they could spot, and ignore, fake news online. The reality, however, is that it might be more difficult than people think.

How was this tested?
What could the impact be?

The design was simple. I showed students a variety of screenshots of actual news website banners —ranging from established news sources like the the Globe and Mail, more partisan sources like Fox News and the Huffington Post, online aggregators like Yahoo! News and social media outlets like Upworthy —and asked them to rate their legitimacy on a scale of zero to 100.

I also included actual screenshots of fake news websites, some of which gained prominence during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. One of these fake news sources was a website called ABCnews.com.co, which is made to look like ABC News, and featured some false content that gained prominence after it was retweeted by Eric Trump. The others were the Boston Tribune and World True News.

But, what were the results?

Although these results are preliminary and part of a larger study, they are consistent with other research: people, and especially young people, have a hard time separating good sources of information from questionable ones or determining whether a photograph is authentic or fabricated.


There is a lot more in this study, including data suggesting that ...

...ideology seems to impact the assessment of news legitimacy to a troubling degree. Left-leaning students see no difference between an extremist source like Breitbart and Fox News, which, in addition to right-wing partisan commentary, also features news reporting that adheres to standard journalistic norms. As a result, something that looks and feels real, like the Boston Tribune, is given more legitimacy than an actual news source that students are familiar with, but dislike for ideological reasons. In fact, something that looks and feels fake, like World True News, is given more legitimacy than a real news outlet.


Quite interesting that folks had a difficult time, enough to be significant, in detecting real vs. fake news.

Fake News, now I wonder how CNN would fare in this study?




posted on Jul, 28 2017 @ 09:46 PM
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I'll tell you what the REAL consequence is going to be. It's going to get to the point to where any and every source you use in a discussion is going to be dismissed as "fake." Perhaps that's the whole intention with all of this talk about "fake news."



posted on Jul, 28 2017 @ 09:50 PM
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originally posted by: SpeakerofTruth
I'll tell you what the REAL consequence is going to be. It's going to get to the point to where any and every source you use in a discussion is going to be dismissed as "fake." Perhaps that's the whole intention with all of this talk about "fake news."


That is an interesting perspective on this study. It brings it home right here to ATS. With the increasing proliferation of Fake News out there, combined with this study about the difficulty of detecting what is real and what is fake, sources would now always be in question.
What sources would be considered "valid" or "trusted" going forward here at ATS?

edit on 7/28/2017 by Krakatoa because: spelling



posted on Jul, 28 2017 @ 11:33 PM
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originally posted by: SpeakerofTruth
I'll tell you what the REAL consequence is going to be. It's going to get to the point to where any and every source you use in a discussion is going to be dismissed as "fake." Perhaps that's the whole intention with all of this talk about "fake news."


I don't believe anything I read or hear until I feel it has been properly vetted. Even then only that 'something' may have happened. Ultimately you need to unravel the spin and false narratives as much as determine what is fake and what is real.
edit on 2017/7/28 by Metallicus because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 28 2017 @ 11:49 PM
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a reply to: Krakatoa


What sources would be considered "valid" or "trusted" going forward here at ATS?

As for would:

Should is a different question.

After reading your OP, I clicked the link you provided. It was republished from another source, The Conversation. The authors name is given, who turns out to be a Phd candidate, and there is even a Disclosure statement as to who is partially funding his doctoral research.

Seems like a good source to me.
edit on 28-7-2017 by pthena because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 29 2017 @ 05:52 AM
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a reply to: Krakatoa

Fair to say a lack of discernment between real and fake news directly relates to a person's world view based upon their experiences and travel around the globe. Or lack their of....



posted on Jul, 29 2017 @ 05:45 PM
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Perhaps "fake" has slipped into opinion and/or views I don't like as much as what is actually fake. However, you are going to get some major media outlets to cut off their noses before you get them to admit they published stories on thin evidence that was later proven to be false.



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