Mixed findings in directly replicated experimental studies on fake news
Keywords:fake news, experimental replications, news information, information literacy
Fake news mimics the look of legitimate news articles even if it does not mimic the standards of journalistic reporting. An increase in fake news has developed along with heightened concern about the veracity of news information, which has been highly politicized as fake news. These problems suggest whether standards of journalistic reporting can overcome the mimicry of real news, and whether the public can correctly identify real news. Here we ask two research questions. Does source information about the news article or its presentation influence the perception that a news article is fake news? What factors influence the perception of fake news? We conducted directly replicated experimental studies that presented four news articles to four subject pools. We show that source information and presentation have limited influence on participants’ judgments of a real news article as fake. Among those who evaluated the articles as fake news, our results show that the less participants thought the article presented a fair, balanced, evidence-based view, the more likely they were to judge it as fake news. These findings warrant discussion about the purpose of news organizations and news reporting as well as about how evidence and fairness work in news information.
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