\
 

Start Date

16-8-2018 12:00 AM

Description

Research has shown that individuals on social media tend to lean towards information that confirms pre-existing beliefs and steer away from information that calls these beliefs into question. This tendency to discount contrary facts questions whether fact-checking tools alone can fight the growing occurrence and spread of fake news. This study proposes an alternative approach to combat fake news by focusing on the underlying belief structures that lend credence to narratives, fake and otherwise. To accomplish this, the study adopts the lens of rhetorical theory to diagnose the discursive relationship between reported news and socially constructed beliefs. We use evidence from Alabama’s controversial 2017 Senate race to demonstrate the approach. The paper concludes with implications for building tools to detect the relationship between belief structures and the decision to accept or reject news reports.

Share

COinS
 
Aug 16th, 12:00 AM

Beyond Facts: A New Spin on Fake News in the Age of Social Media

Research has shown that individuals on social media tend to lean towards information that confirms pre-existing beliefs and steer away from information that calls these beliefs into question. This tendency to discount contrary facts questions whether fact-checking tools alone can fight the growing occurrence and spread of fake news. This study proposes an alternative approach to combat fake news by focusing on the underlying belief structures that lend credence to narratives, fake and otherwise. To accomplish this, the study adopts the lens of rhetorical theory to diagnose the discursive relationship between reported news and socially constructed beliefs. We use evidence from Alabama’s controversial 2017 Senate race to demonstrate the approach. The paper concludes with implications for building tools to detect the relationship between belief structures and the decision to accept or reject news reports.