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Americans share fake news to fit in with social circles

  • Journalism and Facts
  • Social Media and Internet
  • Politics

Fear of exclusion contributes to spread of fake news, research finds

Read the journal article

  • Tribalism and Tribulations (PDF, 495KB)

WASHINGTON — Both conservative and liberal Americans share fake news because they don’t want to be ostracized from their social circles, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.

“Conformity and social pressure are key motivators of the spread of fake news,” said lead researcher Matthew Asher Lawson, PhD, an assistant professor of decision sciences at INSEAD, a business school in France. “If someone in your online tribe is sharing fake news, then you feel pressure to share it as well, even if you don’t know whether it’s false or true.”

The research was published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

The proliferation of fake news contributes to increasing political polarization and distrust of democratic institutions, according to the Brookings Institution. But fake news doesn’t always proliferate due to dark motives or a call for action. The researchers began studying the issue after noticing people in their own social networks sharing fake news seemingly without malicious intent or ideological purpose.

“Political ideology alone doesn’t explain people’s tendency to share fake news within their social groups,” Lawson said. “There are many factors at play, including the very basic desire to fit in and not to be excluded.”

One experiment analyzed the tweets and political ideology of more than 50,000 pairs of Twitter users in the U.S., including tweets sharing fake or hyper-partisan news between August and December 2020. (Political ideology was determined through a network-based algorithm that imputes ideology by looking at the types of accounts Twitter users follow.) The number of tweets between pairs of Twitter users in the same social circles were measured. Twitter users were less likely to interact with each other over time if one of them shared a fake news story and the other did not share that same story. The same effect was found regardless of political ideology but was stronger for more right-leaning participants.

A second experiment analyzed 10,000 Twitter users who had shared fake news in the prior test, along with another group that was representative of Twitter users in general. Twitter users who had shared fake news were more likely to exclude other users who didn’t share the same content, suggesting that social pressures may be particularly acute in the fake news ecosystem.

Across several additional online experiments, participants indicated a reduced desire to interact with social connections who failed to share the same fake news. Participants who were more concerned about the social costs of not fitting in were also more likely to share fake news.

While fake news may seem prolific, prior research has found that fake news only accounts for 0.15% of Americans’ daily media consumption, and 1% of individuals are responsible for 80% of fake news sharing. Other research found that election-related misinformation on Twitter decreased by 73% after Donald Trump was banned from the platform.

Many complex factors contribute to people’s decisions to share fake news so reducing its spread is difficult, and the role of social media companies isn’t always clear, Lawson said.

“Pre-bunking” methods that inform people about the ways that misinformation spreads and highlighting the importance of the accuracy of news can help reduce the spread of fake news. However, finding ways to ease the social pressure to conform in online spaces may be needed to start winning the war on misinformation, Lawson said.

Article: “Tribalism and Tribulations: The Social Costs of Not Sharing Fake News,” Matthew Asher Lawson, PhD, INSEAD, Shikhar Anand, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, and Hemant Kakkar, PhD, Duke University, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, published online March 9, 2023.

How to Keep Food Fresh Naturally

How many times have we brought food and then forgotten about it only to remember it because it begins to stink? Against this, you cannot do anything, but you can ensure that your food lasts longer and keeps fresh.

How?
There are many things you can do, such as regularly clean your refrigerator and regularly check the food in there and also that you keep in the cupboards or anywhere else. But its not just about checking them. This cannot prevent anything. All you will be doing is throwing away food items before they stink up the entire kitchen. So, what can you do to keep the food fresh?

Practical List of Tips for Ensuring Food is Cleaner and Fresher:
1) Spread some cloves on and around the marble surface of your kitchen, and also spread some cloves under the sink.

Why?
The Cloves keeps ants away.

2) Place some bay leaves inside your bags of dough, rice and the rest of the packs that insects prefer.
Why?
Bay leaves keep insects and other such lice away from food products. By placing bay leaves inside the packets, we ensure that insects do not reside there. But please remember to change the bay leaves once every three months.

3) Place half a potato in the refrigerator.
Why?
If there is any kind of bad smell from food or cooked items, the half potato will absorb it. To make sure that this works, remember to exchange the potato every three days.

4) Store eggs with the pointed side down.
Why?
Storing eggs with the pointed side down keeps them fresh for a longer period.

5) Place a few cubes of sugar in the jar where you store American cheese.
Why?
When you place two or three cubes of sugar with the American cheese in an airtight jar, the sugar absorbs the moisture and prevents the cheese from getting worse.

6) Do not store tomatoes and cucumbers in the same draw.
Why?
Tomatoes give out gases that cause cucumbers to rot faster so make sure that you keep these two apart.

7) Do not store apples along with the rest of the fruits and vegetables.
Why?
Apples give out certain gases that cause fruits and vegetables to rot.

8) Place slices of apples or raw potatoes in the bread compartment or jar.
Why?
By adding a few slices of raw potatoes or apples with the bread, you ensure that the bread remains fresh for longer than usual.

9) Store radish in a vessel along with some water.
Why?
You should store radish in a vessel along with water because water will keep the radish fresh and crisp for a long time. For the same reason, if the radishes have shriveled, place them in a jar of cold water. Water will restore the radish to its previous splendor.

Conclusion:
Here, I have presented only a few of the more practical actions you should follow to ensure that the food you and your family consume remains fresh and tasty.

Anthony went to the book store. He wanted to buy a book. He wanted to buy a book about bugs. He liked bugs. He picked up bugs in his yard. He took them to school. He showed the bugs to his teacher. His teacher told him the name of each bug. Then Anthony took the bugs home. He showed them to his parents. His mom told him to take the bugs out of the house. His dad liked to see the bugs. He said Anthony did a good job. He gave Anthony money to buy a book. So Anthony took the money to the book store. He looked for a book with lots of pictures of bugs.