Policy ForumSocial Science

The science of fake news

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Science  09 Mar 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6380, pp. 1094-1096
DOI: 10.1126/science.aao2998

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Summary

The rise of fake news highlights the erosion of long-standing institutional bulwarks against misinformation in the internet age. Concern over the problem is global. However, much remains unknown regarding the vulnerabilities of individuals, institutions, and society to manipulations by malicious actors. A new system of safeguards is needed. Below, we discuss extant social and computer science research regarding belief in fake news and the mechanisms by which it spreads. Fake news has a long history, but we focus on unanswered scientific questions raised by the proliferation of its most recent, politically oriented incarnation. Beyond selected references in the text, suggested further reading can be found in the supplementary materials.