On Social Media, Sharing Mindset Makes People Worse at Judging Accuracy

By Nyla Husain

People are less inclined to accurately judge the truth of a headline when asked about sharing or otherwise engaging with it on social media, a new study in Science Advances suggests. These findings suggest that content sharing — a key participatory feature of most social media platforms — may inherently produce a mindset that clouds judgment, impeding the ability to discern the truth.

"If in the same newsfeed you see cat memes, your cousin's baby photos, and serious news about global events, it can be particularly hard to think carefully about the news," said Ziv Epstein, a Ph.D. student in the Human Dynamics group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab and lead author of the study. "This stands in contrast to other information environments, which focus context on a single mindset, such as a newspaper."

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