Research ArticleSOCIAL SCIENCES

Evaluating the fake news problem at the scale of the information ecosystem

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Science Advances  03 Apr 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 14, eaay3539
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aay3539
  • Fig. 1 Overall information consumption by category and platform over time, from January 2016 to December 2018.

    Breakdown of consumption for (A) the entire adult sample, 18 years and older, (B) 18 to 24 years old, and (C) 55 years and older. See table S6 for numerical values.

  • Fig. 2 Detailed breakdown of overall media consumption for Online and TV.

    (A) Online consumption (including mobile and desktop) for the top 2000 sites per applications on Comscore. (B) TV consumption by program category. Total online consumption is 227 min per person per day, of which 58% is accounted for by the top 2000 sites, while total television consumption is 232 min per person per day. To compute news consumption in search and social media, excluding YouTube, we use the share of referrals from the site in question that redirect to news articles as a proxy for the share of time a user is exposed to news-related content on the platform. For YouTube, which does not redirect users to external sites, we randomly sampled 10,000 videos per month (weighted by viewing time) and computed the percentages that were classified as “news and politics”. Because portals such as MSN, Yahoo, and AOL almost always display some news-related stories on their landing pages, we count 100% of time spent on portals as news consumption. Last, news consumption in the “variety” category of television viewing is computed as 100% of time attributed to late-night comedy programs, such as The Daily Show With Trevor Noah, which are known to contain commentary on politics and current events. For clarity, (A) shows only the top 15 of 28 categories (see table S7 for numerical values).

  • Fig. 3 Television versus desktop news consumption aggregated over all age categories 18 to 55+.

    For each month, the overlap panelists are separated into groups corresponding to different ranges of web news consumption. For each group, the mean television news consumption and group size as a percentage of all panelists are computed. Overtime averages for the mean television news consumption and size of each group are calculated by computing the mean television news mean and mean group size over all 36 months. Error bars are SEs obtained via bootstrapping for group size and group television news consumption, respectively, and are smaller than the symbols. See fig. S2 for all results broken down by age group, and tables S8 and S9 for numerical values.

  • Fig. 4 News-only consumption by age.

    Detailed breakdown of news-only consumption by age group for (A) online (including mobile and desktop) and (B) television. See fig. S4 (A and B) for results plotted over time from January 2016 to December 2018. See table S11 for numerical values.

Supplementary Materials

  • Supplementary Materials

    Evaluating the fake news problem at the scale of the information ecosystem

    Jennifer Allen, Baird Howland, Markus Mobius, David Rothschild, Duncan J. Watts

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    This PDF file includes:

    • Sections S1 to S5
    • Figs. S1 to S4B
    • Tables S1 to S11
    • References

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