In a survey conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs for BuzzFeed News, 71 percent of self-identifying Democrats surveyed mistook fake news headlines for real stories. Those who identify as Republicans fell for the false headlines at a higher rate, with 84 percent of those surveyed believing they were true.
Read the original report here. (UPDATE: This link goes to Buzzfeed, which confirmed in Jan 2017 that they lack traditional media editorial standards and publish items they are unable to verify as authentic.)
Critically, those who view “Facebook as a major source of news are more likely to view fake news headlines as accurate”.
Fake news is often written as satire, but sometimes it is produced as propaganda. The general goal of most fake news, however, is to drive eyeballs to advertisers. Indeed, that is the goal of much “mainstream” news reporting too, particularly today where every click on every web story is closely monitored, data mined, and used to shape future reporting.
Fake news successfully fools both right and left:
“Brendan Nyhan, a political science professor at Dartmouth college who conducts research into political misinformation, reviewed the data and said he is surprised by the high percentage of Democrats who rated the pro-Trump stories as very or somewhat accurate.
“It’s especially striking that both Democrats and Republicans think the stories are accurate in many cases,” said Nyhan. “Even partisan-motivated reasoning — which we might expect to make people question fake news that is harmful to their candidate — does not appear to protect people from believing in it.”
Trump voters in particular gave a high accuracy rating to a story that falsely claimed he had sent his own plane to fly 200 US Marines home.”
Hopefully, all of the recent attention given to fake news – fake news that is even believed! – illustrates the incredible power of actual propaganda to influence people!
When poorly done fake news stories are believed, imagine what a professional propagandist can achieve!