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The Group of Americans Who Are Most Likely to Spread Fake News


Made in America
Sep 23, 2012
Basic Beliefs
English is complicated
Good article, but it rests on the premise that one can identify the subset of conservatives who expressed the greatest tendency to promote false news stories.
These are called "Low Conscientiousness Conservatives"

To be clear, existing research has found that conservatives have a greater tendency toward misinformation than liberals do. For example, during the 2016 election, individuals who leaned conservative were more likely to engage with and share disinformation on Twitter and Facebook. Likewise, in the early months of the pandemic, conservatives were more likely to believe Covid-19 was a hoax, and to downplay the virus’ severity.

However, given that conservatism historically has been associated with respect for tradition, authority and social institutions, we reasoned that ideology alone might not explain the spread of fake news. We decided to investigate the role personality traits might play, focusing our research on conscientiousness — the tendency to regulate one’s own behavior by being less impulsive and more orderly, diligent and prudent.

IMO this trait has been inadequately defined, and reliable, repeatable means of comparison of the degrees to which a given individual harbors these traits, are lacking. Apparently though, the means they used yielded some stark results:

LCCs stood out: On average, they were 2.5 times more likely to share misinformation than the combined averages of the other three groups. In other words, it was the combination of conservatism and low conscientiousness that resulted in the greatest likelihood to share misinformation.

This does comport with my impression of "conservatives", but I'm acutely aware that any attempt on my own part to differentiate the "low conscientiousness" variety from other conservatives would be an exercise in futility, so I wonder what kind of benefit can arise from this sort of study.

in two studies, we found that fact-checking warnings were inadequate: LCCs continued to share fake news stories at a higher rate compared with liberals and high-conscientiousness conservatives, despite being told the news was inaccurate.

So this information is of little use to me, as an individual .

our research makes clear that anyone trying to reach LCCs needs to experiment with interventions that go beyond fact-checking. We believe the onus falls primarily on social media companies. There is plenty of evidence that a user’s personality and political ideology can be inferred based on their social media activity. If these companies can identify LCCs, that means they can also be proactive in making sure LCCs are presented with reliable information, and not with falsities.

Ya sure, ya betcha. Now all ya gotta do is convince Zuckerberg that it would be in his interest to stop encouraging division and strife.
It's NOT in his interest to do that, so... yeah, we're fucked.
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