Perceived social presence reduces fact-checking
People are less likely to fact-check when they're around other people
This study of eight experiments aims to measure how social presence affects the way that people verify information online. It found that, when people think they're being judged by a large group of people online, they're less likely to fact-check claims than when they're alone. Inducing vigilance correlated with an increase in fact-checking among respondents, which could imply that, when they're in a group of people, social media users tend to let their guards down. That finding held across a variety of different conditions, including statements that were politically charged and neutral, simulated forums and social media, as well as small vs. large group sizes.