Mar 6, 2017

Study blames culture, not platforms, for fake news

A new study says it's the culture of certain forms of online media, not the platforms that distribute news stories, that are to blame for fake news.

Columbia Journalism Review surveyed over 1.25 million stories between April 1 and Election Day and found that pro-Trump audiences paid the most attention to polarized outlets, meaning they were more at risk for encountering fake news. CJR argues this wouldn't exist if the same technology available to both sides was used the same way, and says that the media networks on the right are to blame for the modern culture of sharing misinformation that allows public officials to get away with communicating falsehoods to the public.

Why it matters: CJR's study confirms that the culture of misinformation was made possible by technology, but was propagated widely by right-wing media strategy to use social media over traditional outlets, to communicate with constituents. Other studies, like this one from Pew, this one from BuzzFeed, and a custom study created for Axios by Chartbeat, find that right-wing officials, and media, are savvy in using social media distribution to elevate messaging to likeminded audiences.

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