This study investigated whether exposure to fake news leads to more confusion about public affairs and how SNS news use and characteristics of SNSs–network size, political heterogeneity and political expertise of networks–are associated with exposure to fake news and the confusion about political reality. For that, we theorized confusion as the composite of strengthening of misperception and weakening of right perception. Findings show that those exposed to fake news are more likely to be confused about the information in fake news. Regarding SNS factors, news use on SNSs increases exposure to fake news. Network size and political network heterogeneity indirectly affect people’s confusion via exposure to fake news. In contrast, network political expertise was found to limit confusion directly, as well as indirectly by reducing likelihood of exposure to fake news. Implications of this study are discussed regarding the functioning of democracy.
- Fake news
- political expertise on networks
- SNS (Social Networking Service)