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Study Reveals a Key Reason Fake News Spreads on Social Media

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Fake news refers to misinformation or fabricated information that is spread through traditional and social media.

The study involved 2,476 active Facebook users ranging in age from 18 to 89 who volunteered in response to online advertising to participate. They were compensated to complete a “decision-making” survey approximately seven minutes long.

Credit: SciTechDaily

USC researchers have uncovered a driving force behind the proliferation of fake news: the structure of social platforms that incentivize users to habitually share information.

The team's findings, recently published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, challenge common misconceptions that the spread of misinformation is due to a lack of critical thinking skills in discerning truth from falsehood or biases in political beliefs.

Just 15% of the most habitual news sharers in the research were responsible for spreading about 30% to 40% of the fake news.

From University of Southern California
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