Additionally, the number of tweets posted between Twitter user pairs within the same social circles was also calculated.
It was found that if one Twitter user shared a fake news story and another did not share the same story, then the pair of Twitter users were less likely to engage with each other online over time. Interestingly, this same effect was observed regardless of political ideology– although it was still stronger among right-leaning study participants.
Another experiment then examined 10,000 Twitter users who previously shared fake news in an earlier test. Additionally, a second group of Twitter users were also included, who were representative of general Twitter users.
It was revealed that Twitter account owners who shared fake news were actually more likely to exclude other Twitter users who did not reshare the same content. This finding indicated that social pressures “may be particularly acute” when it comes to fake news perpetuation.
Various other online experiments were conducted as well, and overall, individuals showed a reduced desire to engage with users in their social network who did not share the same fake news. At the same time, individuals who were more concerned about fitting in socially were also found to be more likely to share fake news.
The APA did note that despite fake news appearing “prolific,” previous research has indicated that only 0.15% of Americans’ daily media consumption is comprised of fake news. Plus, just 1% of individuals are behind 80% of the fake news sharing.
Regardless, Lawson reiterated how challenging it is to stop the spread of fake news since various factors contribute to people’s online behavior. At the same time, social media companies role in the matter is not always very clear.
Certain methods, known as “pre-bunking,” may be helpful for reducing the spread by informing people about how misinformation is perpetuated while highlighting just how important accurate news is.
“However, finding ways to ease the social pressure to conform in online spaces may be needed to start winning the war on misinformation,” Lawson concluded.
To read the study’s complete findings, visit the link here.
If true crime defines your free time, this is for you: join Chip Chick’s True Crime Tribe