Junk news overtook professional news on election day, study finds

TwitterA new study looked at the content of Michigan tweets during the 2016 election. It found a lot of what study authors call junk news.  

The study was conducted by Oxford University in England and found that junk or fake news was shared slightly more than professional news in the lead up to Election Day.

Researchers looked at tweets from accounts that identified as being from Michigan and used political hashtags.

Samantha Bradshaw is one of the study authors. She said her team separated opinion pieces from news that was factually untrue or propaganda.

“We tried to separate opinion from junk because we think opinion is a very important part of deliberation and democracy. A lot of the stuff that we are finding has these elements of propaganda – separating those two out was very important.”

Bradshaw said that of of the roughly 25-thousand tweets that contained links to political information nearly 65-hundred linked to propaganda.

She said her team is conducting similar research on elections in Europe to look at global trends.