How Our Brains Help Misinformation Go Viral - Deepstash
How Our Brains Help Misinformation Go Viral

How Our Brains Help Misinformation Go Viral

greatergood.berkeley.edu

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Popular Beliefs Seem True

Popular Beliefs Seem True

As social creatures, we humans care what others think and are influenced by the number of likes, hearts, and retweets on social media posts. The downside? An attraction to popular beliefs—whether they’re true or false—can speed up the spread of conspiracy theories, suggests new UC Berkeley research.

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How Fake News Spreads

How Fake News Spreads

  • An extensive study shows that people are more likely to adopt pseudoscientific and misinformed beliefs when they believe them to be more popular.
  • These results have important implications for how highlighting social information with ‘likes’ is more likely to spread fake news.
  • Study participants were more likely to agree or disagree with a statement after seeing evidence that the belief was more popular than they had expected it to be.
  • Some who were on the fence about a controversial issue changed their minds based solely on the number of endorsements the statement received.

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Fake News Has Greater Travel Speed

Fake News Has Greater Travel Speed

Fake news tends to travel, by some estimates, six times faster than fact-based news on Twitter and other social media platforms.

That’s because the algorithms social media platforms use to promote whatever is most engaging or attention-grabbing are often at odds with what is actually true in the world, especially if one is prone to burrow into echo chambers where everyone agrees with you.

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How To Curb The Spread Of Fake News

How To Curb The Spread Of Fake News

The responsibility to curb the spread of misinformation falls mostly on social media platforms. One remedy would be to remove social engagement metrics such as likes, hearts, and retweets from posts that have been identified as misleading.

On an individual level, diversifying the media diet can help. Doing that will give a more representative sense of what kinds of beliefs are out there and get users more attuned to motivations, nefarious or otherwise, behind the information that’s being shared.

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CURATED BY

melissamartinez

Passenger transport manager

If it is so popular it must be true.

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