Study finds it is doubtful that fake news changed vote outcomes.
“It may be less that false information from dubious news sources is shaping their view of the world. Rather, some people (about 8 percent of the adult population, if we take the survey data at face value) are willing to believe anything that sounds plausible and fits their preconceptions about the heroes and villains in politics.”
The study concludes fake news did not have much impact. However, the study’s findings agree with past research on propaganda methods – targeting pre-conceptions with “sounds plausible” stories is effective. This conclusion was already known in the propaganda industry and is the basis for most of the fake news web sites. They create stories designed to hit the emotional hot buttons of their target audience – because their targets want to believe these stories are true.
They almost tip toe up to the new role of distribution on social media but then miss it:
“People’s hunger for information that suits their prejudices is powerful, and in the digital media age, a pile of it emerges to satisfy that demand.”
Fake news is the tabloid model taken to a new level, with excessive hype, exaggeration and fiction writing but with distribution and promotion handled by the gullible who like and share on social media. It’s all about the revenue stream and the social media connection is the key difference.