Udayavni Special

Why people share fake news on social media is decoded

PTI, Dec 4, 2019, 5:37 PM IST

Los Angeles: People may feel less unethical about sharing misinformation on social media if they repeatedly encounter the fake news item, even when they don’t believe it, according to a study involving more than 2,500 people.

The researchers, including one of Indian Origin Medha Raj from the University of Southern California in the US, said seeing a fake headline just once leads individuals to temper their disapproval of the misinformation when they see it a second, third, or fourth time.

As part of the study, published in the journal Psychological Science, the researchers asked online survey participants to rate how unethical or acceptable they thought it was to publish a fake headline, and the likelihood that they would “like”, share, and block or unfollow the person who posted it.

They found that the participants rated headlines they had seen more than once as less unethical to publish than headlines they saw for the first time.

The participants also said they were more likely to “like” and share a previously seen headline, and less likely to block or unfollow the person who posted it, according to the study.

However, they did not rate a previously seen headline as significantly more accurate than new ones.

So the main results cannot be explained by a tendency to misremember false headlines as true, the researchers said.

The team also noted that efforts used by social media companies to curtail misinformation mainly focussed on helping people distinguish fact from fiction.

They quoted the example of Facebook which has tried informing users when they try to share news that fact-checkers have flagged as false.

The researchers cautioned that such strategies may fail if users feel more comfortable sharing misinformation they know is fake when they have seen it before.

According to the scientists, repeating misinformation gives it a “ring of truthfulness” which can increase people’s tendency to give it a moral pass, irrespective of whether they believe it.

Merely imagining misinformation as if it were true can have a similar effect, they said.

“The results should be of interest to citizens of contemporary democracies. Misinformation can stoke political polarization and undermine democracy, so it is important for people to understand when and why it spreads,” said study co-author Daniel Effron from London Business School in the UK.

Top News

K’taka COVID-19 update: 6670 new cases; 3951 discharges; 101 deaths

Woman has miraculous escape in accident at Kadri Kambla Junction

PM anguished by loss of lives in Kerala landslide

Karnataka rains: JD(S) demands special financial aid from Centre

RBI sets up panel under KV Kamath to suggest steps to deal with COVID-related stressed assets

Won’t attend mosque inauguration, says Yogi Adityanath; Samajwadi Party asks him to apologise

India’s COVID-19 fight takes a hit as over 6 lakh warriors go on strike

Related Articles More

Recovered Covid-19 patients suffer from depression, anxiety,PTSD: Study

Mothers can breastfeed infants even if they are Covid-19 positive: WCD Ministry

COVID-19: India’s testing rate lower than other nations: WHO chief scientist

Why are Pulse oximeters a necessity amid Covid-19 pandemic and How does it work?

5 Science-based health benefits of Coconut Water


Horticulture in 75 cents land | Success Story of Padmanabha | Udayavani

Shankar Suvarna | Interview with successful Dairy Farmer | Agriculture

Rangayya Naik | How to Nurture a Child | Udayavani

B. S. Yediyurappa sense of duty in hospital as well; Important Files Verification | Covid Positive

MGM college’s Ravindra Mantapa Opening Ceremony | Udayavani

Latest Additions

Kerala: Air India Express plane skids while landing; several injured

Mahathir admits Malaysia’s ties with India strained due to his Kashmir remarks

K’taka COVID-19 update: 6670 new cases; 3951 discharges; 101 deaths

Shimoga airport work must be fast tracked: B Y Raghavendra

Woman has miraculous escape in accident at Kadri Kambla Junction

Thanks for visiting Udayavani

You seem to have an Ad Blocker on.
To continue reading, please turn it off or whitelist Udayavani.