College students broadly mistrust news. Fake Kardashian gossip probably won’t help.

The growing stream of reporting on and data about fake news, misinformation, partisan content, and news literacy is hard to keep up with. This weekly roundup offers the highlights of what you might have missed.

“It is really hard to know what is real in today’s society.” How do college students consume news and information? The team from Project Information Literacy, with funding from Knight, surveyed nearly 6,000 U.S. college students (at public, private, and community colleges). The full report is here. Our sister publication, Nieman Reports, has a good overview of the study here written by its lead author, Northeastern professor John Wihbey. From his writeup:

“Fake news,” no matter what agenda this phrase is pushing, has had an impact on news consumers. A third of the survey sample (36%) said they agreed that the threat of “fake news” had made them distrust the credibility of any
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What have tech companies done wrong with fake news? Google (yep) lists the ways

“Warning! This story describes a misrepresentation of women.” NewsMavens, a news source curated entirely by women at European news organizations, has launched #FemFacts, a fact-checking initiative “dedicated to tracking and debunking damaging misrepresentations of women in European news media.” “We’re not just going to track false news, but also try to have a more nuanced approach to finding stuff like manipulated presentation of facts: misinformation that’s not false, but skewed,” Tijana Cvjetićanin told Poynter’s Daniel Funke. Their first fact-checks are here. Will California’s media literacy law for schools backfire? At the end of September, California passed a bill (SB 830) that “encourages” media literacy education in public schools by requiring “the state Department of Education’s website to list resources and instructional materials on media literacy, including professional development programs for teachers.” But Sam Wineburg, who’s done some great research on how bad people Continue reading "What have tech companies done wrong with fake news? Google (yep) lists the ways"

Here’s how much Americans trust 38 major news organizations (hint: not all that much!)

Surveys about “media trust” suffer from a definitional problem. “Do you trust the media?” is a meaningful question only if we know what “the media” is. Is it The New York Times and CNN? Fox News and Breitbart? Occupy Democrats and your uncle’s memes on Facebook? In Gallup’s data on that question — which asks about “the mass media, such as newspapers, TV, and radio” — 72 percent of Americans trusted the media in 1976, post-Watergate. By 2016, that was down to 32 percent. But the media in 1976 was your local daily, Walter Cronkite, John Chancellor, and Harry Reasoner. “The media” is something fundamentally different now, and a decline in trust is a rational reaction to that, even in an environment less polarized than our own. All this is to say that I find trust questions about specific news organizations a bit more useful, since you know with
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A new study provides some dispiriting evidence for why people fall for stupid fake images online

Shen called the findings of her study “upsetting,” and there is indeed a strain of #lolnothingmatters here that should be somewhat alarming both to publishers and to proponents of fake-news-fighting tools that rely heavily on identifying reliable sources. How do we react to misinformation without freaking out? The U.K. fact-checking organization Full Fact released a report this week arguing that “rushing to come up with quick solutions to the range of issues could do more harm than good.” Or, as the authors write, “People getting things wrong online is not in itself a harm that merits a policy response.” “Recognize that the greatest risk is of government overreaction and put the protection of free speech at the forefront of every discussion about tackling misinformation in its many forms,” the authors write. “We should take advantage of the window of opportunity we have to consider and deliver a Continue reading "A new study provides some dispiriting evidence for why people fall for stupid fake images online"

More research suggests that Twitter’s fake news “strategy” is either ineffective or nonexistent

Enough with the “whack-a-mole” claims that as soon as you ban one fake news site, another one pops up: A report released by Knight on Thursday finds that most of the accounts spreading fake news on Twitter during the election are still active today — and that “these top fake and conspiracy news outlets on Twitter are largely stable,” because Twitter has not banned them. The findings are consistent with recent research by Matthew Gentzkow, Hunt Allcott, and Chuan Yu that found that, while engagements with fake news on Facebook have decreased, shares of fake news on Twitter have increased since the election. Knight worked with a firm called Graphika to analyze more than 10 million tweets from 700,000 Twitter accounts that linked to more than 600 fake and conspiracy news outlets, both during and after the 2016 U.S. presidential election. (They worked with the list of news sites Continue reading "More research suggests that Twitter’s fake news “strategy” is either ineffective or nonexistent"

“Find a way to resist being manipulated.”

The growing stream of reporting on and data about fake news, misinformation, partisan content, and news literacy is hard to keep up with. This weekly roundup offers the highlights of what you might have missed.

What we know about Russian interference in the 2016 election: Social media. The New York Times published a big interactive feature on everything we know so far about how the Russians interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. There’s a good section on what they did on social media that serves as a handy summary:

When Facebook first acknowledged last year the Russian intrusion on its platform, it seemed modest in scale. The $100,000 spent on ads was a trivial sum compared with the tens of millions spent on Facebook by both the Trump and Clinton campaigns. But it quickly became clear that the Russians had used a different model for their influence campaign: Continue reading "“Find a way to resist being manipulated.”"

Facebook’s attempts to fight fake news seem to be working. (Twitter’s? Not so much.)

The growing stream of reporting on and data about fake news, misinformation, partisan content, and news literacy is hard to keep up with. This weekly roundup offers the highlights of what you might have missed.

“The overall magnitude of the misinformation problem may have declined.” It’s fun to hate on Facebook, but credit where credit’s due: The platform’s attempts to get fake news and misinformation out of people’s feeds seem to be working, according to a new working paper from NYU’s Hunt Allcott and Stanford’s Matthew Gentzkow and Chuan Yu. Looking at the spread of stories from 570 fake news sites (the list, here, includes sites that publish 100 percent fake news and sites that publish some pure fake news along with other highly partisan/misleading stories), and using BuzzSumo to track monthly interactions (shares/​comments/​reactions/​likes/​tweets), they find that “the overall magnitude of the misinformation problem may have declined, at

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