How Fake News Becomes a Popular, Trending Topic
Sociologist (and former UW professor) Philip N. Howard was on “60 Minutes” this week discussing his research on social media and its influence on political news and electoral politics. Below is an excerpt of the transcription from the episode. You can read the whole thing by clicking here!
Phil Howard: Part of political campaigning these days involves a very widespread strategy that involved manipulating public opinion over social media. Twitter and Facebook are part of the advertising strategy.
Phil Howard leads the Internet Institute at the University of Oxford which examines misinformation on social media. They’ve analyzed web traffic in the days before the election in the swing state of Michigan.
Scott Pelley: How much of this news on Twitter in Michigan was, as you call it, junk news and how much of it legitimate?
Phil Howard: Well, in the case of Michigan, we found that the proportions were about equal. The junk news with stories that had not been fact-checked and that came from organizations that were not professional journalism organizations, was about as much as the amount of content coming from the professional news organizations.
Scott Pelley: There was as much fake news as there was actual news?
Phil Howard: There was.