New Study Shows ‘Fake News’ Had No Impact on the Result of the 2016 Presidential Election
A new study released last week has shown that concerns about “fake news” impacting the result of the 2016 presidential election have been vastly overstated.
“Although commentators frequently warn about echo chambers, little is known about the volume or slant of political misinformation that people consume online, the effects of social media and fact checking on exposure, or the effects of political misinformation on behavior,” the study authors noted in the abstract.
Researchers at Dartmouth College, Princeton University, and the University of Exeter used an online survey of over 2,525 Americans as well as data on web traffic collected by YouGov Pulse from desktop computers and laptops in order to come to their conclusions.
“According to the findings, less than half of all Americans visited an untrustworthy website. Moreover, untrustworthy websites accounted for only six percent of all Americans’ news diets on average,” the press release about the study stated.
They found that fake news usually fell around partisan lines, making it likely that people who accessed the questionable content already knew who they were voting for. It was not probable that the fake news influenced these partisan individuals to change their entrenched voting patterns.
The study, which may be somewhat biased in favor of liberals considering it does come from mainstream academia, does claim that conservatives access more fake news than liberals.
The press release stated: “Visits to dubious news sites differed sharply along ideological and partisan lines. Content from untrustworthy conservative sites accounted for nearly 5 percent of people’s news diets compared to less than 1 percent for untrustworthy liberal sites. Respondents who identified themselves as Trump supporters were also more likely to visit an untrustworthy site (57 percent) than those who indicated that they were Clinton supporters (28 percent).”
Facebook was determined to be the biggest hub for fake news by the study. Individuals who accessed the fake news were more likely to get their information from Facebook than Twitter, Google, Gmail and other tech platforms. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has arguably instituted the most Draconian measures of censorship on his platform since 2016, but globalists like George Soros are saying that is not even enough.
They also found that fact checking, which has been used by Facebook in an attempt to control content on their platform, is incredibly ineffective. They found that almost none of participants ever accessed a fact checking site about a questionable article they had read.
“These findings show why we need to measure exposure to ‘fake news’ rather than just assuming it is ubiquitous online,” said Brendan Nyhan, a professor of government at Dartmouth. “Online misinformation is a serious problem, but one that we can only address appropriately if we know the magnitude of the problem.”
The study has been published in the Nature Human Behaviour academic journal.