Research Study Examines the Impact of “Fake News” on Facebook

September 15, 2023

Research Study Examines the Impact of “Fake News” on Facebook

Kelly Garrett

Professor R. Kelly Garrett, director of the School of Communication, was the senior author of a study that examined the supply of low-credibility information (ie. “fake news”) on Facebook and its influence on peoples’ understanding of science, politics and their community. 

After examining 2.2 million news stories on Facebook, the study found that low-credibility publishers and high-credibility publishers create two very different news environments.

A publisher was marked as low-credibility if it was included in one of six lists of low-credibility news domains created by reputable fact-checkers and scholars, or if it produced more than five articles labeled as problematic by Facebook fact-checkers. High-credibility sites were identified by two academic sources of traditional news sites.

The study also found that the biggest difference in what publishers covered was based on their credibility, rather than the political ideology of the publishers, meaning that misleading information on the same topic could spread in a variety of forms and in a variety of news outlets.

“We tell people that they should get their news from a variety of sources to reduce the risk of being misled. But that doesn’t work as well if many low-credibility outlets are talking about the same stuff,” Garrett said. “There’s a little more nuance to what it takes to be a well-informed person. You can’t just be reading multiple news stories. You have to be reading sources that are well known to be credible.”

For the full press release, visit Ohio State News.