More people spread made-up news than people who correct it

A new Online Civic Culture Centre study found most British social media users shy away from correcting misinformation — but a large chunk of people have spread misleading news.

 

News Sharing on UK Social Media: Misinformation, Disinformation & Correction
Online Civic Culture Centre
By Andrew Chadwick and Cristian Vaccari
May 2, 2019

People are likely to run into misinformation on a daily basis, according to Loughborough University professors Andrew Chadwick and Cristian Vaccari. Their report for the Online Civic Culture Centre found people with right-leaning beliefs were more likely to share inaccurate news and be corrected by other users, while left-wingers were more likely to identify inaccurate news and correct others.

Researchers also learned corrections were less common than sharing inaccurate news: 57.7 percent of social media users saw inaccurate news on social media in the past monthand 42.8 percent admitted they’ve shared misleading news. Yet, 78.8 percent of social media users didn’t correct other users.

Men were 12.2 percent more likely than women to share news on social media, but they were also 8.2 percent more likely to deliberately share disinformation, while women were 1.7 percent more likely to unintentionally spread disinformation when sharing news.

Chadwick and Vaccari suggested an “anything goes” attitude when sharing news online could contribute to future difficulty for people to have meaningful discussion across political divides.

Key Numbers

  • More than half of British social media users (57.7 percent) saw news on social media that they thought was not fully accurate.
  • About 43 percent of news sharers admitted to sharing disinformation.
  • Thirty-four percent said they had been corrected for spreading made-up news — and 26.4 percent hadn’t been corrected at all.

Study Details

  • Researchers surveyed “a representative sample of the British public” through a survey of 2,005 people’s news sharing habits on social media in July 2018.
  • While one-third of users share news on social media at least once a month, this 31 percent is more likely to be male with a high education level, researchers wrote.