Why fake news is more prevalent than ever: Study
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was updated at 1:07 p.m. on Aug. 3 to include additional information from the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn State Health Center.
A new study from Penn State and the University Of California, Berkeley, found that more than half of the articles on the websites of fake news websites were true.
The researchers said they were surprised that fake news was so prevalent.
“Fake news is the new viral viral sensation,” said Penn State’s Robert Zirkelbach, who led the study published in the journal PLOS ONE.
“The new viral sensation is the spread of fake information.”
Fake news articles were the most common type of fake article on the internet, with more than 50 percent of them published on the sites of four of the top five fake news publishers, the researchers found.
Fake news was also the most frequent type of article shared by Facebook users on its social media platform, with over 1.5 million posts shared from August 2016 through August 2017.
Fake story posts had a higher share of the average size of the original article, while fake news stories were shared more often and were more likely to include a photograph.
The top five authors on the five websites were David A. Fahrenthold, who publishes a fake news site called The Blaze, and John Podhoretz, who is a Fox News contributor and host of a show called The Podhorets.
The study found that while the most popular fake news story was shared by more than 5 million people, the top 10 most popular real stories were only shared by around 400,000 people.
The authors concluded that “the fake news epidemic is real and pervasive.”
“These findings are disturbing and demonstrate that this epidemic is not confined to the alt-right and the far right, but is affecting all people,” Zirelbach said in a statement.
“This is not a new phenomenon, and we should all be concerned.”