Are you too sure of discovering fake news? If so, you are more likely to become a victim | Digital media
Are you a fake news supplier? People who are most confident about their ability to distinguish between fact and fiction are also most likely to fall victim to misinformation, according to a US study.
Although Americans believe the confusion caused by hoaxes is pervasive, relatively few say they saw or shared it.
Nine out of ten respondents said they had an above-average ability to spot false and legitimate headlines. About a fifth of respondents rated themselves 50 or more percentiles higher than their scores warranted, according to an analysis of a nationally representative study of data collected during and after the 2018 US mid-term elections.
The survey asked 8,285 Americans to rate the accuracy of a series of Facebook headlines and then rate their own ability to spot false news content compared to others.
When the researchers examined data on respondents’ online behavior, those with over-awareness were more likely to visit websites linked to spreading false or misleading news. The self-confident participants were also less able to differentiate between true and false claims about current events and reported a higher willingness to share false content, especially if it corresponded to their political inclinations, the authors found.
“Regardless of the field, people are on average too confident … but over 70% of people who are too self-confident are such a large number,” said lead author Ben Lyons, assistant professor of communications at the university of Utah.
While the study does not prove that overconfidence directly leads to confrontation with false news, the discrepancy between a person’s perceived ability to spot misinformation and actual competence could play a crucial role in spreading false information, the authors write in the in the published study Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
It also suggests that those who are humble – people who tend to self-monitor, reflect, and think more about the websites they visit and content they share – are likely to be less prone to misinformation, said Lyons.
Factors such as gender also played a key role in the likelihood of overconfidence and thus susceptibility to misinformation, according to Lyons.
“Male respondents [in the study] showed more self-confidence – and this is a consistent finding in the literature on overconfidence – men are always more confident than women, which is always not so surprising. “
He added, “Overconfidence is really universal. I would be shocked if we didn’t find this in every country we went to … although we may not see this extreme level of overconfidence, just because of cultural differences. “