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Polarization, Partisanship and Junk News Consumption over Social Media in the US

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What kinds of social media users read junk news? An Oxford University study analyzed the distribution of the most significant sources of junk news in the three months before President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union Address. Drawing on a list of sources that consistently publish political news and information that is extremist, sensationalist, conspiratorial, masked commentary, fake news and other forms of junk news, they found that the distribution of such content is unevenly spread across the ideological spectrum. They demonstrate that (1) on Twitter, a network of Trump supporters shares the widest range of known junk news sources and circulates more junk news than all the other groups put together; (2) on Facebook, extreme hard right pages—distinct from Republican pages—share the widest range of known junk news sources and circulate more junk news than all the other audiences put together; (3) on average, the audiences for junk news on Twitter share a wider range of known junk news sources than audiences on Facebook’s public pages.

Read the full Oxford University Study: http://comprop.oii.ox.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/93/2018/02/Polarization-Partisanship-JunkNews.pdf

View a critique of this study: https://hoax-alert.leadstories.com/3468960-oxford-study-does-not-prove-right-wingers-share-and-believe-more-fake-news.html

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