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Fall of Misinformation Series | by Suzan Verberne @LeidenUniv |

Misinformation spreads easily and fast. It gets presented as news, whereas actual news gets dismissed as fake. Conflicting streams of information allows all sides to cherry-pick whatever is most comfortable, boosting degrees of confidence and confusing the deliberation of both politicians and voters.

Conspiracy theories have growing numbers of adamant followers who see misinformation where others see truth. From COVID-19 to QAnon, misinformation is on all our minds. What exactly is happening and why? Have we entered a post-truth era?

We have studied the spread of so-called junk news on Facebook. Junk news is low quality content from click-bait-type websites. We compared the spread of junk news by Dutch Facebook users to that of mainstream news; news outlets such as AD, RTL, and nu.nl. We found that during the period 2013-2017 the total number of user interactions with junk news significantly exceeded that with mainstream news. Over 5 Million of the 10 Million Dutch Facebook users had interacted with a junk news post at least once. This confirmed other research about Twitter that has shown that false news spreads faster than true news.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sun Mar 6th, 2022 at 08:37:08 PM EST

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