Heavy Social Media Users More Likely to Fall for Scams and Hoaxes
I know, it's pretty ironic that most of you found this article because it was posted on a social media site. Chances are this article is not about you, though. It's about that idiot friend that we all have that ascribes to all of those far-out theories about politics, space aliens, bigfoot, and supermarket coupons.
A new Pew Research Center report found that people who spend an inordinate amount of time with social media sites and rely on those sites for news are actually more likely to be less informed and more susceptible to falling for a hoax or believing a rumor.
For example, the Pew Center study found that about 18 percent of respondents used social media sites as their source for news. When asked questions about current events and political topics that group was more likely to have facts skewed or completely wrong than those who got their information from more traditional sources.
The study did find that heavy social media users were also more likely to fall for hoaxes or scams online. That group was also more likely to fall for what is commonly referred to as "fake news" in political circles. The group was also more likely to be misinformed about actual political news when compared to those who received their information via a traditional platform or an established news organization's smartphone app.
The study found that about 30% of heavy social media users who identified as Republicans counted former President Trump as a major source of election news and the coronavirus. That same group was also more likely to think the COVID-19 pandemic was overblown and that voter fraud was a significant threat to the nation's security.
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