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Fake News Paradox: The Shocking Way Your Google Searches Could Be Fooling You


Grim Reaper 6

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Conventional wisdom suggests that searching online to evaluate the veracity of misinformation would reduce belief in it. But a new study by a team of researchers shows the opposite occurs: Searching to evaluate the truthfulness of false news articles actually increases the probability of believing misinformation. The findings, which will be published today (December 20) in the journal Nature, offer insights into the impact of search engines’ output on their users—a relatively under-studied area. Across the five studies, the authors found that the act of searching online to evaluate news led to a statistically significant increase in belief in misinformation.

This occurred whether it was shortly after the publication of misinformation or months later. This finding suggests that the passage of time—and ostensibly opportunities for fact checks to enter the information ecosystem—does not lessen the impact of SOTEN on increasing the likelihood of believing false news stories to be true. Moreover, the fifth study showed that this phenomenon is concentrated among individuals for whom search engines return lower-quality information.

Fake News Paradox: The Shocking Way Your Google Searches Could Be Fooling You (scitechdaily.com)

Online searches to evaluate misinformation can increase its perceived veracity: Online searches to evaluate misinformation can increase its perceived veracity | Nature

 

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