Why Does Junk News Spread So Quickly Across Social Media?

23 March 2018

Samantha Bradshaw and Phil Howard have a new report, published as a white paper in a series on media and democracy commissioned by the Knight Foundation.

This white paper explores the spread of junk news around the world. It begins by examining the relationship between social media and democracy. The second section explores what happened during elections in 2016 and 2017, and how conspiracy theories, polarizing content, and Russian sponsored ads simultaneously flooded the social media ecosystem and microtargeted users. The third section discusses the role of algorithms, advertisements and selective exposure in filtering and delivering content. This white paper concludes with some ideas for how social media platforms should design for democracy and how governments should regulate.

Read the report online here.

An accompanying summary of the report has been published on Medium.