Friday, January 27, 2017

Did Fake News Determine the Election?

In the three months prior to the 2016 presidential election, false news stories favoring Trump were shared 30 million times on Facebook, reports a National Bureau of Economic Research study of how fake news affected the election. Fake news stories favoring Clinton were shared 8 million times.

About 15 percent of adults saw the average fake news headline in the three months before the election, according to a survey fielded by the NBER team. Half of them—or 8 percent—believed the fake story. The NBER researchers calculate that, "for fake news to have changed the outcome of the election, a single fake news story would need to have convinced about 0.7 percent of Clinton voters and non-voters who saw it to shift their votes to Trump, a persuasion equivalent to seeing 36 television campaign ads."

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research, Social Media and Fake News in the 2016 Election, NBER Working Paper #23089 ($5)

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