Research From MIT: “Want to Squelch Fake News? Let the Readers Take Charge”
From MIT News:
Would you like to rid the internet of false political news stories and misinformation? Then consider using — yes — crowdsourcing.
That’s right. A new study co-authored by an MIT professor shows that crowdsourced judgments about the quality of news sources may effectively marginalize false news stories and other kinds of online misinformation.
“What we found is that, while there are real disagreements among Democrats and Republicans concerning mainstream news outlets, basically everybody — Democrats, Republicans, and professional fact-checkers — agree that the fake and hyperpartisan sites are not to be trusted,” says David Rand, an MIT scholar and co-author of a new paper detailing the study’s results.
Indeed, using a pair of public-opinion surveys to evaluate of 60 news sources, the researchers found that Democrats trusted mainstream media outlets more than Republicans do — with the exception of Fox News, which Republicans trusted far more than Democrats did. But when it comes to lesser-known sites peddling false information, as well as “hyperpartisan” political websites (the researchers include Breitbart and Daily Kos in this category), both Democrats and Republicans show a similar disregard for such sources.
The paper, “Fighting misinformation on social media using crowdsourced judgments of news source quality,” is being published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week. The authors are Gordon Pennycook of the University of Regina, and Rand, an associate professor in the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Full Text Research Article: “Fighting Misinformation on Social Media Using Crowdsourced Judgments of News Source Quality” (via PNAS)
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.