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.
This high-level review looks at all the major scientific literature on the relationship between social media, political polarization and disinformation. The paper is broken up into six sections: online political conversations, consequences of exposure to disinformation and propaganda in online settings, producers of disinformation, strategies and tactics of spreading disinformation through online platforms, online content and political polarization and how misinformation and polarization affect American democracy. Taken together, the paper — whose works cited section is nearly a fourth of its length — is an expansive look at the literature on misinformation, but the authors identify several key areas for further research. These include: better measures of the effects of misinformation exposure, multi-platform research, misinformation in images, the generalizability of U.S. findings, the effect of ideology on responses to misinformation, laws against spreading misinformation, better understanding of bots and the role of political elites in spreading misinformation.