Week 11 blog post

Fake news tends to illicit more emotional responses than real news does. This is in part an explanation to why bots can’t be wholly blamed for the spread of misinformation.

In the Robinson Meyer article, it is mentioned that while false stories generally perform better than real ones, fake news about politics does the best. For this reason, the fake news story I chose was “Pope Francis shocks world, endorses Donald Trump for President.” This story not only involves politics, but it also involves religion which tends to illicit strong emotional responses. Combining both factors probably gave this particular fake story a higher chance of being proliferated. The story had 960,000 Facebook interactions. With large numbers like these, journalists are likely to have a hard time competing. The news that they report or attempt to correct might not get anywhere near the amount of engagement as a fake story, and as such, majority rules. People are more likely to believe widely accepted information even if that information is inaccurate. Journalist then are seen as less credible because of the numbers that their factual stories gather in comparison.

Snopes, PolitiFact and FactCheck.org are three sites mentioned in the Meyer article that are useful fact checking tools. Another method of simple fact checking is to investigate the source of an original news article. For example, if WTO5, which was the source of the Pope Francis article, was investigated, then the disclaimer on its homepage saying the site created satire and fantasy pieces would make it clear to a reader that the story was not to be believed.


Source: https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/03/largest-study-ever-fake-news-mit-twitter/555104/




One thought on “Week 11 blog post”

  1. Alex, you make some good points…so how do journalists correct this or prevent this from happening? Is there a way? It’s bad enough when you have to publish a correction for a story that many people won’t see or bother to read it. So then that false information gets out there. And that, of course, is human error and has no malicious intent.


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