In this study, two undergraduate student researchers test how different groups of people perceive the distinction betwen satire and fake news differently. Through online surveys and focus groups, they quizzed participants on the difference between fake news and satire. They showed them 27 screenshots of posts in a simulated Facebook News Feed and gave each participant 12 seconds to read a story post and choose whether it was satire or fake news. They found that the youngest and oldest participants were least likely to accurately distinguish between the two categories. Women and more educated people fared better, while political orientation did not have much of an effect on the outcome.
In this comprehensive law practicum, student researchers at Stanford University surveyed the ways in which Facebook, Google, Twitter and Reddit helped facilitate the spread of fake news during the 2016 U.S election. They divided their report into separate sections for each platform, drawing upon user experiments, search analyses, interviews with major news organizations and current and former government officials and a review of steps already taken to address misinformation. For Facebook, researchers recommended the platform continue investing in its fact-checking partnerships to cut down on fake news readership. For Google, authors recommend implementing more effective algorithmic monitoring to avoid surfacing hoaxes. For Twitter, researchers recommended the platform pilot a crowd-sourced fact-checking and flagging system to decrease the spread of fake news links. Finally, for Reddit, the authors said the platform should work to decrease the visibility and reach of subreddits that are known to regularly foster conspiracy theories.