The Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to keeping the American public informed, has released a study of American’s views on fake news.
This is must reading for anyone interested in the fake news problem! Here are some tidbits:
About two-in-three U.S. adults (64%) say fabricated news stories cause a great deal of confusion about the basic facts of current issues and events. This sense is shared widely across incomes, education levels, partisan affiliations and most other demographic characteristics. These results come from a survey of 1,002 U.S. adults conducted from Dec. 1 to 4, 2016.
Though they sense these stories are spreading confusion, Americans express a fair amount of confidence in their own ability to detect fake news, with about four-in-ten (39%) feeling very confident that they can recognize news that is fabricated and another 45% feeling somewhat confident.
Will’s Note: According to Research by Buzzfeed, most of us cannot readily distinguish fake news from real news.
And some Americans say they themselves have shared fake news. Overall, 23% say they have ever shared a made-up news story, with 14% saying they shared a story they knew was fake at the time and 16% having shared a story they later realized was fake.
When it comes to how to prevent the spread of fake news, many Americans expect social networking sites, politicians and the public itself to do their share. Fully 45% of U.S. adults say government, politicians and elected officials bear a great deal of responsibility for preventing made-up stories from gaining attention, on par with the 43% that say this of the public and the 42% who say this of social networking sites and search engines.
You really ought to read the article, which has much more detail.
Here is what the Pew Research Center says about itself:
Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. We conduct public opinion polling, demographic research, content analysis and other data-driven social science research. We do not take policy positions.