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Poll: 75 Percent of Americans Who See Fake News Believe It

Image: Poll: 75 Percent of Americans Who See Fake News Believe It

(AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 07 Dec 2016 09:56 AM

Three-fourths of Americans believe fake news headlines when they see them, according to a new Ipsos/BuzzFeed poll.

The survey was carried out by showing respondents a random selection of six election-related headlines (three true and three false) and were asked if they recalled the story in question.

If so, they were then asked to rate the claim in the headline as "very accurate," "somewhat accurate," "not very accurate," or "not at all accurate," BuzzFeed News explained.

The poll revealed the following:

  • Nearly 33 percent recalled seeing at least one of the fake news headlines, while 57 percent said they had seen at least one of the real news headlines.
  • Of those who saw a fake headline, 75 percent said they thought those headlines were "somewhat" or "very" accurate.
  • Of those who saw a real news headline, 83 percent said they were "somewhat" or "very" accurate.
  • People who said they rely on Facebook as a "major" source of news thought fake news headlines were accurate 83 percent of the time.
  • 76 percent of those who consider Facebook a "minor" source called fake news headlines accurate.
  • 64 percent of those who rarely or never use Facebook for news said fake news headlines were accurate.

However, the fake news headline most recalled by those surveyed (FBI Agent Suspected in Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead in Apparent Murder-Suicide) was only remembered by 22 percent, while the real news headline most recalled (Donald Trump on Refusing Presidential Salary: I'm Not Taking It) was seen by 57 percent.

Among Republicans, 86 percent considered familiar fake new headlines as accurate, while among Democrats it was 58 percent.

Dartmouth Prof. Brendan Nyhan, who does research on political misinformation, told BuzzFeed News "it's especially striking that both Democrats and Republicans think the stories are accurate in many cases.

"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."

Fake news has had an increasing influence on the public, as demonstrated during the presidential election campaign.

On Sunday, Politico reported that a suspect who fired shots inside a Washington D.C. pizza restaurant said he went to the establishment to self-investigate "Pizza Gate," a fake news story that Hillary Clinton and her campaign chief were operating a child sex ring in a back room there.

The Ipsos/BuzzFeed survey involved 3,015 U.S. adults and was conducted between Nov. 28 and Dec. 1. The poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 2 percentage points for all respondents.

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Three-fourths of Americans believe fake news headlines when they see them, according to a new Ipsos/BuzzFeed poll.
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Wednesday, 07 Dec 2016 09:56 AM
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