IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/aea/jecper/v31y2017i2p211-36.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Social Media and Fake News in the 2016 Election

Author

Listed:
  • Hunt Allcott
  • Matthew Gentzkow

Abstract

Following the 2016 US presidential election, many have expressed concern about the effects of false stories ("fake news"), circulated largely through social media. We discuss the economics of fake news and present new data on its consumption prior to the election. Drawing on web browsing data, archives of fact-checking websites, and results from a new online survey, we find: 1) social media was an important but not dominant source of election news, with 14 percent of Americans calling social media their "most important" source; 2) of the known false news stories that appeared in the three months before the election, those favoring Trump were shared a total of 30 million times on Facebook, while those favoring Clinton were shared 8 million times; 3) the average American adult saw on the order of one or perhaps several fake news stories in the months around the election, with just over half of those who recalled seeing them believing them; and 4) people are much more likely to believe stories that favor their preferred candidate, especially if they have ideologically segregated social media networks.

Suggested Citation

  • Hunt Allcott & Matthew Gentzkow, 2017. "Social Media and Fake News in the 2016 Election," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 31(2), pages 211-236, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:31:y:2017:i:2:p:211-36
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.31.2.211
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/jep.31.2.211
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://www.aeaweb.org/articles/attachments?retrieve=ejSlDQa2FaEV6W5iUlP7csuzGZTVn_R1
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://www.aeaweb.org/articles/attachments?retrieve=OqLfxLHqt5RtEiUNfFokPQxjK1-z4aJy
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://www.aeaweb.org/articles/attachments?retrieve=q4pYTx4qpHVlMYhhDwRpfAooPGDPBlxT
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. repec:wly:riskan:v:29:y:2009:i:5:p:633-647 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro & Daniel F. Stone, 2014. "Media Bias in the Marketplace: Theory," NBER Working Papers 19880, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. repec:cup:apsrev:v:105:y:2011:i:01:p:135-150_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Prior, Markus & Sood, Gaurav & Khanna, Kabir, 2015. "You Cannot be Serious: The Impact of Accuracy Incentives on Partisan Bias in Reports of Economic Perceptions," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 10(4), pages 489-518, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Barrera, Oscar & Guriev, Sergei & Henry, Emeric & Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, 2017. "Facts, Alternative Facts, and Fact Checking in Times of Post-Truth Politics," CEPR Discussion Papers 12220, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Cheng, John W. & Mitomo, Hitoshi, 2018. "News on Fake News – Media Portrayals of Fake News by Japanese News Media," 22nd ITS Biennial Conference, Seoul 2018. Beyond the boundaries: Challenges for business, policy and society 190384, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).
    3. Bertin Martens & Luis Aguiar & Estrella Gomez Herrera & Frank Muller, 2018. "The digital transformation of news media and the rise of disinformation and fake news," JRC Working Papers on Digital Economy 2018-02, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    4. repec:eee:pubeco:v:157:y:2018:i:c:p:107-120 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Hunt Allcott & Matthew Gentzkow & Chuan Yu, 2018. "Trends in the Diffusion of Misinformation on Social Media," Papers 1809.05901, arXiv.org.
    6. Ngo Van Long & Martin Richardson & Frank Stahler, 2018. "Media, fake news, and debunking," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics 2018-659, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.
    7. Michail Batikas & Jörg Claussen & Christian Peukert, 2018. "Follow The Money: Online Piracy and Self-Regulation in the Advertising Industry," CESifo Working Paper Series 6852, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Fabrizio Germano & Francesco Sobbrio, 2016. "Opinion dynamics via search engines (and other algorithmic gatekeepers)," Economics Working Papers 1552, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Mar 2018.
    9. Andrea Geraci & Mattia Nardotto & Tommaso Reggiani & Fabio Sabatini, 2018. "Broadband Internet and Social Capital," MUNI ECON Working Papers 2018-01, Masaryk University, revised Dec 2018.
    10. repec:eee:cysrev:v:85:y:2018:i:c:p:143-150 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. repec:eee:joinma:v:45:y:2019:i:c:p:99-112 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. repec:pal:palcom:v:3:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1057_s41599-017-0021-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. repec:pal:palcom:v:5:y:2019:i:1:d:10.1057_s41599-019-0224-y is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Cag�, Julia, 2017. "Media Competition, Information Provision and Political Participation: Evidence from French Local Newspapers and Elections, 1944-2014," CEPR Discussion Papers 12198, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    15. O'Rourke, Kevin Hjortshøj, 2018. "Economic history and contemporary challenges to globalization," CEPR Discussion Papers 13377, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    16. repec:gam:jscscx:v:8:y:2019:i:2:p:37-:d:201238 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. repec:spr:soinre:v:142:y:2019:i:1:d:10.1007_s11205-018-1887-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. repec:eee:reecon:v:72:y:2018:i:2:p:196-210 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Casarico, Alessandra & Tonin, Mirco, 2018. "Pay-What-You-Want to Support Independent Information: A Field Experiment on Motivation," IZA Discussion Papers 11366, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    20. Kennedy, Patrick & Prat, Andrea, 2017. "Where Do People Get Their News?," CEPR Discussion Papers 12426, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    21. repec:cog:meanco:v:6:y:2018:i:4:p:11-23 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. repec:spr:homoec:v:34:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s41412-017-0053-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. repec:cog:meanco:v:6:y:2018:i:4:p:36-48 is not listed on IDEAS
    24. Fabio Sabatini & Francesco Sarracino, 2019. "Online Social Networks and Trust," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 142(1), pages 229-260, February.
    25. repec:pal:palcom:v:3:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1057_s41599-017-0014-3 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:31:y:2017:i:2:p:211-36. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Michael P. Albert). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.