Whose story would you believe: your favorite social media star’s or a world famous newspaper’s?
A recent study, called Media Insight Project, discovered something interesting. The project, funded (资助) by the American Press Institute and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, found that people’s trust in a piece of content (内容) on Facebook was stronger if they trusted the person who shared it, regardless of which organization published it.
In the study, scientists built a fake (虚假的) Facebook post about health news and showed it to about 1,500 Americans. Half of them got the post from a sharer they said they trusted – a public figure such as US TV star Oprah Winfrey. The others got it from a sharer they didn’t trust. Half of them were shown that the article was published by news agency the Associated Press (AP), while the other half was shown a made-up news provider, Daily News Review.
在这项研究中，科学家们在脸书上发布了一则捏造的健康新闻，并将其展示给了1500个美国人看。他们当中有一半的人是从他们信任的分享者处——如美国电视明星奥普拉·温弗莉等公众人物 —— 看到这一帖子；另外的人则是从他们不信任的分享者处获得消息。半数人被告知文章是由新闻机构美联社发布的，而另一半人则被告知文章来源于一个虚构的新闻供应方《每日新闻评论》。
The results showed that what mattered most was whether the story was posted by someone who people trust. For example, more people thought the article was accurate (准确的) if the sharer was trusted but the article came from a fictitious (虚构的) news outlet (49 percent). If the article came from the AP but the sharer was not trusted, the results were lower (32 percent).
The participants were also more likely to share the article, follow the person who shared it, or otherwise engage (互动) with the post when they got it from someone they trusted.
“When people see news from a person they trust, they are more likely to think it gets the facts right, contains diverse (多样的) points of view, and is well reported than if the same article is shared by someone they are skeptical (怀疑) of,” the researchers wrote.
It seems that the same pattern also fits teenagers. A recent study by the nonprofit Common Sense Media claimed that teenagers are particularly trusting of news from family members and teachers. It showed that 66 percent of them said they trust the information received from family, compared with 25 percent for news organizations.
So what does this mean for social media users?
“As citizens of information and consumers (消费者) of information, we have to learn how to be critical (批判的) of the information that we consume. Journalists have an important role to play in helping audiences navigate the news ecosystem (生态系统),” Claire Wardle, a digital media researcher from First Draft News, said in an ABC TV debate on the rise of fake news.
“作为信息公民和信息的消费者，我们需要学习如何批判地看待我们所消费的消息。新闻工作者在帮助受众们找到新闻生态系统的导向上扮演着重要的角色。”来自First Draft News网站的数字媒体研究员克莱尔•沃德尔在一场有关虚假新闻兴起的ABC电视辩论中如是说道。