How social media misinformation wins — even if you don’t believe it

Disinformation is propaganda. It can also be incredibly effective, even when we know it’s not true.

Almost 15 years after Stephen Colbert introduced the term “truthiness” into the modern lexicon, news consumers find themselves awash in a deluge of misinformation, fake news, and alternative facts. The problem is two-fold: if disinformation fits their already established worldview, people believe it. At the same time, if disinformation doesn’t fit their worldview, it affects people’s views of those sharing it. Either way, it contributes to widespread political divisiveness and pits Americans against each other.

At this point, we’re all familiar with the prevalence of misinformation online.


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