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Study finds fake news is a small part of what we read

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

"Fake news" wasn't a term many people used two years ago, but since the 2016 presidential election it has become more commonly viewed as a threat to democracy. But a recent analysis of the search histories of thousands of adults in the month around the election found that though fake news had a broad reach, even people with the largest fake-news appetite consumed much more real news overall, per the New York Times.

Why it matters: The new data could help researchers determine how influential fake news was during the 2016 election and beyond. "There's been a lot of speculation about the effect of fake news and a lot of numbers thrown around out of context, which get people exercised," Microsoft's Duncan Watts told NYT. "What's nice about this paper is that it focuses on the actual consumers themselves."