We know that the internet is a dangerous place for fake news.
But what if the real thing was real?
That’s the question posed by a new study, conducted by researchers from the University of Oxford and published in the journal PLoS ONE.
“It is a challenge to detect fake news online,” says Dr. Senthil Kumar, lead author of the study.
“If you have a lot of fake news, there is a high chance that you won’t find the real article.”
The researchers looked at a variety of topics, including social media, politics, economics and health, and found that “fake news” and “alternative facts” were more likely to appear on social networks.
A few key findings from the study: “Most articles contain a mix of factual and fabricated content,” the researchers wrote.
“While there is some evidence that the spread of fake information can be influenced by political sentiment, we found that it was the effect of political sentiment that was most important.”
“We found that the more political content on social networking sites, the more likely a reader was to read articles containing fake content,” Kumar said.
“Our findings suggest that people can be more susceptible to false news if they are exposed to fake news and/or alternative facts.”
What to do about fake news in the real world?
“I think this paper gives some important advice,” said Dr. Toshiaki Okamura, a professor of computer science at University of Tokyo and a co-author of the PLoS ONE paper.
“You need to take a more holistic approach, and you should not be too quick to dismiss or dismiss alternative facts,” he said.
The researchers said they would be interested in doing more work on the effects of fake or alternative news on the real-world situation, such as the ways in which it can influence the flow of traffic to and from news sources.
“I would hope that our research will encourage other people to look more carefully at fake news,” Kumar added.