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True news stories can win out depending on the platform, research finds

Posted at 3:04 PM, Feb 03, 2023

Social media stories deemed not to be fake tended to win out on the social media platform Reddit as the internet grapples with how to prevent the spread of disinformation.

According to an Ohio State study,Reddit users were more likely to engage with deeded to be true compared to those that contained false information.

The Ohio State research contrasted with a 2018 study of Twitter which determined users there were far more likely to interact with stories containing misinformation.

The OSU researchers looked for posts with a comment linking to one of three fact-checking organizations: PolitiFact, Snopes or the Washington Post Fact Checker, they said.

“Among threads that did not receive a fact check, we found little substantive difference in engagement. Posts with false information received about as much engagement as posts with true information,” Robert Bond, lead author of the study, said. “That suggests Reddit users were responding to fact checks and were more engaged with those they knew were labeled as true.”

The study did not determine why Reddit users were likelier to interact with truthful stories. But the guess is that each subreddit has moderators to help filter posts.

“Reddit is a community that has watchdogs, both the moderators and other users. They often look for untrue information and correct it, and the community is responsive to those corrections,” study co-author Kelly Garrett said.