About Us |
Contact Us |
LexisNexis Business Solutions
It’s not unheard of for TV shows—like Saturday Night Live—or parody news sites—like The Onion—to bend the latest headlines to their will for the sake of comedy. But recently, headlines have trumpeted a disturbing trend: the rise of deliberately misleading or even entirely fake news being accepted as fact. Social media has played a significant role in disseminating fake news—a point that was particularly apparent during the presidential election campaign. See how Nexis® and LexisNexis Newsdesk® help organizations capture a more accurate picture of what’s being said in print, online, broadcast and social media.
According to researchers from Stanford University, more than 80 percent of students were unable to tell the difference between legitimate news and sponsored content. And we’re not just talking about credulous 13-year-olds. The study surveyed more than 7,800 students from middle school through college—and even college students seemed susceptible to accepting news content as trustworthy if a website featured “… high-quality design, links to traditional news organizations and well-written ‘About’ pages.” Many students also did not question the motivation—and validity—of articles that appeared as sponsored content. Professor Sam Wineburg, lead author of the report, said, “Many people assume that because young people are fluent in social media they are equally perceptive about what they find there. Our work shows the opposite to be true.”
It’s not just America’s youth that are being tripped up by fake news. Journalism.org notes that a survey conducted by Pew Research Center found that 62 percent of U.S. adults get their news on social media. What’s more—64 percent rely on a single site for news; 26 percent check news on two sites; and a scant 10 percent visit three or more sites for news. As a result, fake news tends to spread like wildfire which only increases the sense of legitimacy. After all, if everyone is saying it—or sharing it—then it must be true, right?
The problem came to a head in the last three months of the election season when, according to a BuzzFeed News analysis, “… the top-performing fake election news stories on Facebook generated more engagement than the top stories from major news outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Huffington Post, NBC News, and others.” The research noted that the fake news, mostly shared from partisan blogs and hoax news outlets, saw over 8.7 million shares and likes—exceeding performance of real news by more than a million.
“If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck.” We’ve all heard that expression, but with the rise of fake news—much of which looks genuine—we can’t assume anything. So what can you do? Factcheck.org offers these suggestions:
Of course, we’d be remiss in mentioning that better news research and analysis solutions are crucial. By using a solution that aggregates news and business information from around the globe—and supports media analysis to help you see trends in news coverage—you capture a more complete, accurate picture of what’s being said. And that’s a fact.