A new study from Stanford University’s Media and Society Program finds that the spread of fake news is growing more widespread than ever.
The study found that fake news became more common among Americans in 2016 than it did in 2015, a fact that has been a theme of both campaigns in 2016.
“The 2016 presidential election has been characterized by a resurgence of the ‘fakenews’ label, and we have begun to see this rise with a greater frequency in the news media,” said the study’s lead author, Jia Tolentino.
“Fake news and misinformation are becoming more widely accepted in the marketplace, and our results suggest that these trends may be accelerating as a result of the Trump administration.”
Tolentino and her colleagues conducted a survey of more than 5,000 American adults who have viewed at least one of the top news stories of the year so far: a story that said the Trump transition team was considering appointing a woman to head the Environmental Protection Agency.
They found that 85% of the respondents had heard the story before, but were now hearing it a lot more frequently.
The study also found that in 2016, the number of Americans who were likely to be exposed to fake news spiked in the days immediately following the election.
“We found that the frequency of fake information in the media was rising in the weeks following the presidential election,” Tolentinos said.
“This suggests that the rise of fake media following the 2016 election may have been related to the rise in fake news following Trump’s election, and that it may be influencing public opinion in a positive way.”
The study, published in the Journal of Media and Communication, used a statistical technique called meta-analysis to estimate how widespread fake news was.
It found that “the number of stories containing fake news rose to nearly 1 million in the week following the inauguration of President Donald Trump, and to 1.6 million in subsequent weeks.”
The researchers looked at how many fake news stories Americans were exposed to on the internet.
They also looked at which of the stories that they were exposed, and how often they appeared on news outlets.
“One of the most striking results from our meta-analytic analyses is that the number and frequency of articles containing fake stories spiked in a similar fashion as the spike in the number, and frequency, of stories with positive coverage,” Tolenterinos said in a statement.
“Our meta-analyses show that the public is becoming more aware of fake content in the mainstream media.”
She said that she thinks the rise is largely due to the media bias and the “hyperpartisan” tone of the campaigns in which they were being waged.
“For the first time in our study, we found that false stories and biased information spread in the absence of bias, and not through the traditional channels of news reporting and opinion.”
She also pointed out that the study is not intended to be a comprehensive survey of the media.
She said the research team is interested in looking at more specific areas such as whether people who are exposed to misinformation tend to see it in the same way that others do.
“If we can understand how people respond differently to misinformation, and find a way to improve our understanding of the public’s response to fake information, we could potentially address the underlying causes of the increase in fake stories in the first place,” Tolentsino said.