55 Plus Lecture Series - Selective Exposure to Misinformation: Evidence from the consumption of fak

Date:  April 19, 2018
Topic:  Selective Exposure to Misinformation: Evidence from the consumption of fake news during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign
Speaker:  Andrew Guess, Assistant professor of Politics and Public Affairs at Princeton University
Though some warnings about online "echo chambers" have been hyperbolic, tendencies toward selective exposure to politically congenial content are likely to extend to misinformation and to be exacerbated by social media platforms.  Dr. Guess's team tests this prediction using data on the factually dubious articles known as "fake news." Using unique data combining survey responses with individual-level web traffic histories, the team estimates that approximately 1 in 4 Americans visited a fake news website from October 7-November 14, 2016.  Trump supporters visited the most fake news websites, which were overwhelmingly pro-Trump.  However, fake news consumption was heavily concentrated among a small group - almost six in 10 visits to fake news websites came from the 10 percent of people with the most conservative online information diets.  Dr. Guess also found that Facebook was a key vector of exposure to fake news and that fact-checks of fake news almost never reached its consumers.

Dr. Guess is an assistant professor of politics and public affairs at Princeton University.  His research sits at the intersection of political communication, public opinion, and political behavior.  He uses a combination of experimental methods, large datasets, machine learning, and innovative measurement to study how people choose, process, spread and respond to information about politics.  Current or recent projects investigate online selective exposure, how to accurately measure media exposure on the internet, the dynamics of interest group mobilization over Twitter, and the persuasive effect of new information on individuals' attitudes and beliefs.