NEW YORK: You can’t trust yourself to discern what’s true and what’s not when you’re on Facebook as researchers have found that ‘Fake news’ is not easy to spot on the social networking site.
“We all believe that we are better than the average person at detecting fake news, but that’s simply not possible,” said study lead author Patricia Moravec, Assistant Professor at the University of Texas in the US.
“The environment of social media and our own biases make us all much worse than we think,” Moravec added.
For the study, published in the journal Management Information Systems Quarterly, the researchers worked with 80 social media-proficient undergraduate students who first answered 10 questions about their own political beliefs.
Each participant was then fitted with an EEG headset.
The students were asked to read 50 political news headlines presented as they would appear in a Facebook feed and assess their credibility.
Forty of the headlines were evenly divided between true and false, with 10 headlines that were clearly true included as controls: ”Trump Signs New Executive Order on Immigration” (clearly true), ”Nominee to Lead EPA Testifies He’ll Enforce Environmental Laws” (true), ”Russian Spies Present at Trump”s Inauguration — Seated on Inauguration Platform” (false).
The researchers randomly assigned fake news flags among the 40 non-control headlines to see what effect they would have on the participants’ responses.