Fake news created with the intention of generating engagement is not constrained by reality. This freedom allows fake news to tap into the natural biases of the human. But despite the attractiveness of fake news stories, most people are reluctant to share them. Why? I will present evidence that sharing fake news hurt one’s reputation in a way that is difficult to fix, and that these reputational costs partly explain why most people are reluctant to share fake news. However, some people share fake news stories. And interestingly some of them share (fake) news they suspect to be inaccurate. Why would they do that? I will present one factor, that alongside accuracy, drives the sharing of true and fake news: the ‘interestingness-if-true’ of a piece of news. I will argue that people may not share news of questionable accuracy by mistake, but instead because the news has qualities that make up for its potential inaccuracy, such as being interesting-if- true.
For attendance please contact in advance Brent Strickland.