In the 21st century internet-scape where information is abundant, but authenticity can be difficult to discern, NULab faculty affiliate Katherine Haenschen’s recently published research on misinformation spread via Facebook is exceedingly relevant. PsyPost author Eric W. Dolan highlighted Haenschen’s co-authored work in a recent post, “Lifestyle Pages on Facebook are a Significant Contributor to the Spread of Fake News, Study Finds,” on October 2nd, 2023.
Haenschen and colleagues, using data collected from 806 Facebook users between December 2016 and January 2017, sought to determine what kinds of factors lead people to “like” Facebook pages associated with misinformation, or “fake news,” and subsequently, identify strategies to combat the spread of that misinformation. A myriad of factors associated with the individual users were included in the data gathered, including age, gender, race, education, political affiliations, and political participation, knowledge, and interest. The study found that roughly 18% of participants had “liked” at least one Facebook page sharing fake news content, signifying that these participants had at least some exposure to misinformation through Facebook. Interestingly, Haenschen and colleagues also discovered that Facebook pages formed “clusters” based on shared audience members, grouping the right-leaning fake news pages with local news sources, and left-leaning fake news pages with national news sources.
You can read the full PsyPost report on Haenschen et al.’s (2023) study here.