'Fake news' didn't change US election outcome: study

Researchers Hunt Allcott of New York University and Matthew Gentzkow of Stanford concluded that despite the widespread consumpti
Researchers Hunt Allcott of New York University and Matthew Gentzkow of Stanford concluded that despite the widespread consumption of fake stories, this was not likely a determining factor in Donald Trump's victory over Hillary Clinton
"Fake news" probably did not change the outcome of the US presidential election, according to a study of news consumption by voters.

The study bolsters arguments by Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg, who has sought to deflect criticism that the huge social network may have been used to fuel the spread of misinformation that impacted the 2016 race.

However, the researchers did reach some potentially troubling conclusions—that 15 percent of people surveyed reported seeing fake news stories, and eight percent reported seeing and believing them.

The report was circulated this week by Hunt Allcott of New York University and Matthew Gentzkow of Stanford, researchers with the National Bureau of Economic Research, known for its role in determining recessions in the US economy.

The researchers concluded that despite the widespread consumption of fake stories, this was not likely a determining factor in Donald Trump's victory over Hillary Clinton.

They said pro-Trump fake stories were shared on Facebook about three times more than pro-Clinton stories—30.3 million shares compared to 7.6 million.

Still, they said that in order to swing the election, these stories would have had to change the votes of 0.51 percent of the voting age population, which was unlikely.

"Our data suggest that social media were not the most important source of election news, and even the most widely circulated fake news stories were seen by only a small fraction of Americans," the researchers wrote.

"For fake news to have changed the outcome of the election, a single fake news story would need to have convinced about 0.7 percent of Clinton voters and non-voters who saw it to shift their votes to Trump, a persuasion rate equivalent to seeing 36 television campaign ads."

The researchers concluded that while social media was a key source of news for many, it wasn't the most important source.

The respondents spent an average of 66 minutes per day reading, watching or listening to election news, of which 25 minutes were on social media.

But when asked which were "most important," the top information sources were cable TV, network TV, websites and local TV. Social media was the fifth most important news source, cited by 14 percent of those polled.

The study was based on an online survey of 1,208 US adults the week of November 28—three weeks after the November 8 election.

Even though Facebook has brushed aside criticism over its role in the spread of fake news, the world's biggest social network has nonetheless taken a series of initiatives since November aimed at curbing the spread of misinformation and hoaxes.


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Study illustrates Facebook's growth as campaign news source

© 2017 AFP

Citation: 'Fake news' didn't change US election outcome: study (2017, January 19) retrieved 27 June 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-01-fake-news-didnt-election-outcome.html
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Jan 19, 2017
I think a lot more than 8% believed them. There are a awful lot of people that think the Apocalypse is here based on what the media reported about Mr. Trump.

But when I got up this morning the sun was shinning and birds singing. The only thing that seems to have changed is more companies are moving back to the United States.

Sure doesn't seem like "THE SKY IS FALLING!"

Jan 19, 2017
We have the opinion in this post against the opinions of the intelligence agencies.

Did this report come directly from Putin or was it handed down through regular Russian/Trump channels?

Jan 19, 2017
Fake news did not affect the outcome of the election? This conclusion being based on the importance of "social media"? I'm sure these researchers consider garbage like Faux News to be reputable. That is cable TV, or Network TV. It is also FAKE NEWS. Hunt Allcott of New York University and Matthew Gentzkow of Stanford are called "researchers" in this story - I doubt that is what their jobs are. As described, there was no scientific methodology involved in their "research" effort.

Jan 19, 2017
yes this story is itself 'fake news' , a form of propaganda known as 'gaslightiing' . Scientists are stupid about politics it seems.

Jan 19, 2017
You have it backwards.

The poorly-educated get their opinions of science from political prejudice.

Jan 19, 2017
You have it backwards. The poorly-educated get their opinions of science from political prejudice.


I agree with you most the time. But this time I think it was the people that consider themselves the intellectual elite that were the ones that were hoodwinked by the media. And I am especially including the media when I speak of people that consider themselves intellectually superior to us mortals. And they think they know whats best for us and the media does know how to twist the news so we reach what they consider the proper conclusions.

Let me give an example. There was a world news story about someone taping over the "Dons Johns" sign on the portable urinals at the inauguration sight. Now that might be funny but who would consider that worthy of world news let alone breaking world news? Only the media that miss no opportunity to slander our president, even in the most trivial of ways.

Jan 19, 2017
Fake news did not affect the outcome of the election?
No, real news did this. Real news told us that hillary was an incompetent who lied to try and cover it up.

Facts are facts. Brought to you by fox.
As described, there was no scientific methodology involved in their "research" effort
Snoreboy gets all the info he needs to reach this conclusion from a PR news release.

Its GOT to be that simple or someones trying to confuse him with too many words.

Jan 19, 2017
He is not your president yet. He thinks he is Henry VIII, but he is not.

You are all the unwitting tools of Pootie-poot. Just like you fell for those two draft-dodging cowards screaming "WMD!" from their Undisclosed Locations.

Get the oil? Paid for all that killing yet?

Jan 20, 2017
gkam You have made it clear over and over again you think and yell "THE SKY IS FALLING, THE SKY IS FALLING!"

So what do you want and are pushing for? The overthrow of the United States Of America Or just the assassination of our president?

Jan 20, 2017
This story keeps appearing and disappearing on here ,like someone can' t decide

Jan 20, 2017
So what do you want and are pushing for?
george kamburoff the psychopath wants to manipulate and cheat unencumbered. He enjoys making people jump through hoops for him.

He takes the most incendiary positions just to get the process going. Psychopaths dont give a shit about anything but themselves.

The only reason to engage with him is to watch and learn.

Jan 20, 2017
You are all the unwitting tools of Pootie-poot. Just like you fell for those two draft-dodging cowards screaming "WMD!" from their Undisclosed Locations
-rderkis should understand he is dealing with someone with a stunted personality.

"Most people are able to combine ideas that have consistent thought themes, but psychopaths have great difficulty doing this. Again, this suggests a genetic restriction to what we have called the Juvenile Dictionary. Not only are they using extremely restricted definitions, they cannot, by virtue of the way their brains work, do otherwise. Virtually all of the research on psychopaths reveals an inner world that is banal, sophomoric, and devoid of the color and detail that generally exists in the inner world of normal people."

Jan 20, 2017
It is interesting to be the focus of the fixation of others. All it takes here is to be real in the sea of phony names such as "otto" and "Ira" and Rumpy.

It is an interesting phenom to have perturbed the little world of malcontents, folk with something so wrong in their little heads they cannot let go of it.

Hide and watch their little tantrums.

Ask who they really are and see what you get.

Jan 20, 2017
Does the rabid dog appreciate all the attention he gets? Does he think its admiration? Jealousy perhaps?

The rabid dog is more in touch with reality than the psychopath george kamburoff. But they are both a menace.

Jan 20, 2017
What were those famous words now, . . . ?

Oh yeah, "It is an interesting phenom to have perturbed the little world of malcontents, folk with something so wrong in their little heads they cannot let go of it."

Please note they also use pseudonyms to avoid having to take responsibility for their adolescent words. Why are they here? Perhaps Twitter chased them out.


Jan 22, 2017
I have a feeling that the "fake news" crisis might be fake news itself! What I'm seeing is a manufactured scare concocted to justify government and other forms of censorship.

The best approach would be for citizens groups along the political spectrum to issue guidelines to spot "fake news" from their perspective, and then let the people deal with the issue themselves.

Setting up commissions and authorities, private or public, is just another way of forbidding citizens to use their own judgment and to turn this responsibility over to the imperious state.

Jan 22, 2017
Setting up commissions and authorities, private or public, is just another way of forbidding citizens to use their own judgment and to turn this responsibility over to the imperious state
People have been taking advantage of others for fun and profit forever. Take the lying cheating psychopath george kamburoff for instance. Unfortunately most are better at it than he is.

Govts are created to protect people from the likes of george. Psychopaths spend their lives honing their skills to outwit honest decent people.

Jan 22, 2017
"Human beings have been accustomed to assume that other human beings are - at the very least - trying to "do right" and "be good" and fair and honest. And so, very often, we do not take the time to use due diligence in order to determine if a person who has entered our life is, in fact, a "good person.

"Because of our exposure to the "legal argument" norms, when any dispute arises, we automatically think that the truth will lie somewhere between two extremes.

"The truth - when twisted by good liars, can always make an innocent person look bad - especially if the innocent person is honest and admits his mistakes.

"The basic assumption that the truth lies between the testimony of the two sides always shifts the advantage to the lying side and away from the side telling the truth."

-Psychopaths have no conscience, no feelings. The revelation tgat they can take advantage of those who do becomes a life-long obsession.

Jan 22, 2017
But it did lead to the election of a Fake President.
Little inaugural attendance, little hands, little mind, big disaster.

Can you say unpresidented.

Jan 22, 2017
But it did lead to the election of a Fake President.
Little inaugural attendance, little hands, little mind, big disaster.

Can you say unpresidented.
Did you buy a t shirt with that on it yet? All proceeds go to the bill and hillary legal defense fund.

Ps they dont need the money they just enjoy taking yours.

Jan 22, 2017
Yesterday was hilarious! Little Trumpy sent his henchman out to give the nasty media a thrashing for reporting the attendance at the inauguration. They were supposed to be a cheering squad, and lying for him, I suppose.

Trump and the suckers he fooled are in for it now. They are laughed at or scorned worldwide.

Will the Trump Wars be nuclear when he and Pootie have their falling-out?

Jan 22, 2017
They also needed Comey. He was in the Bush DOJ when I served as Deputy Foreperson for 24 months. I left with sleep disorders because they were politicized and and petty.

We need those folks put in PRISON. They worked with agents of a hostile power to corrupt our government, and succeeded! Millions of Decent Folk marched yesterday, many more than attended the imposition upon us of a fool with the character of a four-year-old.

Jan 22, 2017
Fake news and Comey did it, but now there will be a price to pay, as they would up with an overgrown toddler who simply cannot stand to be second. But he is only second-rate, with no intelligence, no education, no knowledge of how anything but bankruptcies work.

Emotionally-vulnerable, he can be set off with a simple remark.

I love the fact he is the perfect symbol of conservatism.

Jan 27, 2017
Ha Has Ha the irony is too much!
"...I left with sleep disorders because they were politicized and and petty." - gkam And then this:

"We need those folks put in PRISON. They worked with agents of a hostile power to corrupt our government, and succeeded! Millions of Decent Folk marched yesterday, many more than attended the imposition upon us of a fool with the character of a four-year-old."

Do you ever read what you post?

Read more at: https://phys.org/...html#jCp

Jan 27, 2017
Yes, and thank you for doing the same. When you get over your prejudice, you might learn something.

There is nothing petty about what those in power are going to do to us. The changes will be massive, and I think they are grossly negative.

Jan 27, 2017
Speaking of prejudice, doesn't your post perfectly contradict the headline of the article above?

Headline: 'Fake news' didn't change US election outcome: study

You: "Fake news and Comey did it..." Do you have a study to cite? Didn't think so.

Just because you are scared doesn't mean you have to tell everyone here all the time. You're the most fearful "alleged" person I know.

Perhaps if your car could travel more than 80 miles a week, you could get out and discover people with a different opinion than yours. Try it sometime.

Jan 27, 2017
You want the "study"?

And if I worry, it is because I have seen more life, politics, and the consequences of poor decisions than you a generation later.

If you are not concerned, you are naive.

Jan 28, 2017
Sorry Gkam, your age has OBVIOUSLY not granted you insight. Nor wisdom. Nor humility.

And THAT is the source of your friction and contempt here.

Been removed by the mods a lot lately? There's a reason for that.

Not enough insight, wisdom, or humility.


Jan 28, 2017
Outgrow your "otto" need.

You can do it.

Enlist. You saw the real people do it. You can be real, too.

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