“The biggest weakness of this study is that it was entirely based on self-reporting. Asking Facebook users to report on their use of Facebook tends not to be as accurate as actually measuring a user’s actual use of the service, as people tend to show themselves in the most positive light possible.
But what the researchers found is disturbing. Even if people don’t bother following and reading the news links presented to them, Facebook users think they are more well-informed than they actually are. This illusion of knowledge is potentially problematic as Facebook is used as a substitute for consumption of actual news.”
I’ve been saying this, as have others, for awhile now. The problem is larger than just fake news websites, it’s that people read a headline, and that’s it. If people actually bothered to click through, it’s usually pretty obvious that the information is fake, sometimes it’s even a parody. But, instead, they read the headline, which tells them something they already agree with, and hit share!
And while the article focuses on pro-Trump websites that are clearly fake, I’ve seen plenty of people share things on both sides of the political spectrum that were clearly not true, but which correlated with their worldview.
We need to stop this. Mostly we need to stop thinking of ourselves as informed and educated when we were too lazy to read an article. That’s how hatred spreads, by thinking your side is the informed one, and the other side is the ignorant one.
Believe me, there’s plenty of ignorance to go around.