MIT study suggests that more sharing on social platforms may lead people to care less about accuracy

The U.S.-based Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) recently concluded the study it has been working on to highlight that social media users find it difficult to either share a news story or decide whether it is true or fake. According to the institute, even if the users decide to share the news or not, it will decrease their capability to judge the authenticity of the content.

The research was based on the responses collected from social media users when they were asked to assess whether certain news content was true or not. On the other hand, when asked if they would forward the news, 35 percent of the survey participants were not good at differentiating news based on its authenticity. David Rand, an MIT professor, and co-author of the study added that asking if people would want to forward content would make them believe the news in which they didn’t have faith in the first place and not trust the news they initially thought was true. Giving it a thought can affect their judgment.

The study suggested that sharing and judging accuracy cannot be done simultaneously without affecting the user’s judgment. Asking people for either of the two things can affect their perception. The whole research was based on two rounds of an online survey, in which over three thousand participants took part. All of them had a social media account, either on Facebook or Twitter. These survey respondents were presented with true and fake news regarding political conditions and the recent pandemic. They were asked separately whether they believed the news or if they would share it with others. Later on, the questions were merged and asked again.

David Rand expressed his views by saying that the patterns of users’ activity on social sites can also affect their ability to assess the news. Partisan leanings were also studied in the research, but the institute didn’t have a proper explanation of the outcomes they received from Partisan and left it for the future. However, the report did suggest that social media sites can be restructured to prevent the spread of fake news content.

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