Study: People Are More Likely To Believe Fake News Related To the Coronavirus If They Get Their News from Social Media Platforms

The coronavirus pandemic has been accompanied by a worldwide spread of misleading information, and this misinformation can be shared through any media, however, there is a reason to be specifically concerned about the role of social media platforms such as Twitter, and Facebook in spreading disinformation. Now, Misinformation Review published a new study, which indicates that your medium of news determines whether you believe misleading information or not.

According to this study, those people who get their news from social networks such as Twitter or Facebook are more likely to believe fake information about the coronavirus. The research also finds that people who get their news from social media are also less likely to practice social distancing or to think the coronavirus is a threat.

On the other hand, individuals who get news from traditional news media are likely to practice social distancing and follow public health recommendations. An associate professor at McGill University, Taylor Owen, who is the co-author of this study, states that there is increasing evidence that misleading information circulating across social media platforms poses serious public health issues.

The researchers analyzed millions of tweets as well as thousands of news articles and found that fake or incorrect information related to the virus is far more likely to be circulated across social platforms as compared to traditional news media.

Co-author Aengus Bridgman who is a Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at McGill University states that social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are becoming the primary sources of news and ‘misleading information’ for individuals across the globe.

Mothers connect and support each other through social media platforms. Currently, parents in America are contemplating the return of their kids to school during the pandemic, and it is necessary for kids to wear masks and practice social distancing. However, social media is filled with posts claiming that wearing masks can cause lung damage. This news is fake and is scaring people about one of the most powerful tools against the virus.

Wearing a mask is important and masks are our first line of defense against the virus since they protect people. They do not impair the breathing of people, and doctors have even used social platforms to post images of their workouts wearing masks and their perfect oxygen readings. However, scary misleading information spreads much faster on social networking sites as compared to the good news.

Photo: Katemangostar / Freepik

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