The facts of fake news: A research review

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Abstract

This article offers a review of scholarly research on the phenomenon of fake news. Most studies have so far focused on three main themes: the definition and the scope of the problem; the potential causes; and the impact of proposed solutions. First, scholarly research has defined fake news as a form of falsehood intended to primarily deceive people by mimicking the look and feel of real news. While initial research has shown that only a small fraction of the online audience is exposed to fake news, for this small group of individuals, the impact of fake news can be quite substantial. Second, studies have identified cognitive processes that make individuals more prone to the influence of fake news, such as confirmation bias, selective exposure, and lack of analytical thinking. Fake news also derives its power from its appeal to partisanship, perceived novelty, and repeated exposure facilitated by both bots and human users that share them in the online sphere. Finally, while fact checking has also risen in response to fake news, studies have found that corrections to wrong information only work on some individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12724
JournalSociology Compass
Volume13
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2019

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