Fake news headlines fool American adults about 75% of the time, according to a large-scale new survey conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs for BuzzFeed News.
The survey also found that people who cite Facebook as a major source of news are more likely to view fake news headlines as accurate than those who rely less on the platform for news.
This survey is the first large-scale public opinion research study into the fake news phenomenon that has had a sweeping effect on global politics, and that recently caused a gunman to threaten a DC pizza place. The results paint a picture of news consumers with little ability to evaluate the headlines that often fly toward them without context on social media platforms. They also — surprisingly — suggest that consumers are likely to believe even false stories that don’t fit their ideological bias. And the survey calls into question the notion — which Facebook has reportedlybegun testing — that consumers themselves can do the work of distinguishing between real and fake news.
The new data comes from an online survey of 3,015 US adults conducted between Nov. 28 and Dec. 1. For more on the methodology, see the bottom of this article. A detailed summary of results to all questions can be found here. Additional calculations can be found here.
“The 2016 election may mark the point in modern political history when information and disinformation became a dominant electoral currency,” said Chris Jackson of Ipsos Public Affairs, which conducted the survey on behalf of BuzzFeed News. “Public opinion, as reflected in this survey, showed that ‘fake news’ was remembered by a significant portion of the electorate and those stories were seen as credible.”
The survey found that those who identify as Republican are more likely to view fake election news stories as very or somewhat accurate. Roughly 84% of the time, Republicans rated fake news headlines as accurate (among those they recognized), compared to a rate of 71% among Democrats. The survey also found that Trump voters are more likely to rate familiar fake news headlines as accurate than Clinton voters.
We're in a world now completely governed by fake news and the conspiracy theories they perpetuate, and actual facts simply don't have a chance anymore. Journalism is pretty much broken both from both ends with the sources of news being flooded by fake news garbage, and by news consumers who simply don't know the difference anymore and don't care to do the work to find out what truth or fact even means.
A body politic so completely disconnected from fact is not long for this earth. We've gone from "All the news that's fit to print" to "I saw it on Facebook." Trump and his clown crew can do and say whatever they want at this point, and three-quarters of the country will buy it as fact.
The best part? Anything Trump doesn't like gets labeled as "fake news".
It was a nice run, the American republic, while it lasted.