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A Yale University study on the effectiveness of combatting “fake news” underlines what the rest of the country already knew: Americans no longer trust the media to tell the truth.
The study, entitled “Assessing the Effect of ‘Disputed’ Warnings and Source Salience on Perceptions of Fake News Accuracy,” put 24 news stories from 2016-2017 in front of 7,500 participants. Half of the stories presented were true, and half were fabricated. Those involved in the study were asked to rate the accuracy of a random selection of 12 of the headlines. The study was further divided into groups. In the first, the stories were presented as-is. In the second, fake news was tagged as “disputed.”
Results - Stories - Users - President - Trump
The results were marginal, at best. With false stories flagged, users who support President Trump were only 1.2% more likely to correctly gauge whether or not a story presented was factual. Supporters of Hillary Clinton were slightly more trusting, with an increase of 4.3% over the unflagged group.
It appears Trump supporters were generally less inclined to trust a headline in general — whether or not it has been checked by a third party. This skepticism is unsurprising in a climate that has shown consistent aggression toward those who have supported the POTUS, both before and after the election. In point of fact, only about 15% of Trump voters have any trust in the media at all, according to a recent Edelman poll.
Data - Set - Help - Intelligence - Machine
But the most interesting data set was buried deep and only unearthed with the help of artificial intelligence. When processed by a machine learning algorithm, an intriguing pattern emerged that surprised the researchers themselves.
The problem seems to be exaggerated among younger people. 18-25-year old participants in the control group believed fewer of the true stories than their elders to be real at 57.1%, and more of the...
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