In this study, the authors look at some of the different formats, sources and motives of misinformation online and how to detect it. Specifically, it looks at three types of misinformation — fake product reviews, hoaxes on collaborative platforms and fake news on social media — as well as whether the content makes up an opinion or a fact. The study identified bots and sockpuppets (fake accounts created by one person) as key propagators of misinformation on social media, which they do to try to amplify and garner more support for their content. The researchers concluded that more work should be done on the potential for crowdsourced fact-checking, detecting misinformation in multimedia and bridging echo chambers online.
In this study, Zhang explores how WeChat, a private messaging platform popular among Chinese citizens and expatriates, has become a key source of U.S. political misinformation. Using data from a survey with 407 U.S.-based Chinese WeChat users, the author identified and analyzed the top sources for American political news on WeChat. Then, Zhang analyzed articles from those sources published between January and November 2017. What she found was that, while many popular web hoaxes in the U.S. deal with jobs, the economy and healthcare, many of the ones on WeChat deal with issues like affirmative action or illegal immigration. That disparity, as well as the fact that there’s a low barrier to entry for new publishers, allows misinformation to go unchecked.
In this study, the authors wanted to know whether or not people share fake news because it confirms their own partisan ideology or because of low critical thinking. To test that, they operationalized two studies with a total of 3,446 Mechanical Turk respondents, using the Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT) to measure each subject's analysis skills. Participants were asked whether they preferred Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton and then shown a variety of fake and real news items about each party. Researchers found that the better participants did on the CRT, the less likely they were to believe that a fake news story was real — even when the article conformed to their own beliefs.