The study reviewed web traffic collected with consent from a national sample of 2,525 Americans between Oct. 4 and Nov. 7, 2016. Fake news websites were found reach a relatively large audience, equivalent to 27.4 percent of the sample, with fact-checking websites close behind at 25.3 percent. These two groups overlap only in part, as 13.3 percent of the sample visited fake news websites but not fact-checking websites. Moreover, none of the users who saw a specific fake news story was then reached by its related fact check. The study also found that Facebook was a key channel for misinformation to spread, likely accounting for about one fifth of traffic to fake news websites.
This study examines the effects of adding disputed labels to fake news stories on social media outlets like Facebook, in line with the real partnership the social network launched in December 2016. While researchers found that adding warnings to fake content decreased those posts perceived accuracy, they also found that the presence of fake news tags alone also increased the perceived accuracy of untagged fake stories. This "implied truth" effect was stronger among subgroups who were more likely to believe online information (such as young adults and Trump supporters). Participants saw an equal mix of right and left-wing headlines, both fake and real, and answered questions about their validity and shareability.
Respondents were showed "Facebook-like" posts carrying real or fake news. Across three different study designs, respondents with higher results on a Cognitive Reflection Test were found to be less likely to incorrectly rate as accurate a fake news headline. Analytic thinking was associated with more accurate spotting of fake and real news independent of respondents' political ideology. This would suggest that building critical thinking skills could be an effective instrument against fake news.