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The small, disloyal fake news audience: The role of audience availability in fake news consumption

The small, disloyal fake news audience: The role of audience availability in fake news consumption In light of the recent US election, many fear that “fake news” has become a force of enormous reach and influence within the news media environment. We draw on well-established theories of audience behavior to argue that the online fake news audience, like most niche content, would be a small subset of the total news audience, especially those with high availability. By examining online visitation data across mobile and desktop platforms in the months leading up to and following the 2016 presidential election, we indeed find the fake news audience comprises a small, disloyal group of heavy Internet users. We also find that social network sites play an outsized role in generating traffic to fake news. With this revised understanding, we revisit the democratic implications of the fake news crisis. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png New Media & Society SAGE

The small, disloyal fake news audience: The role of audience availability in fake news consumption

New Media & Society , Volume 20 (10): 18 – Oct 1, 2018

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References (51)

Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
© The Author(s) 2018
ISSN
1461-4448
eISSN
1461-7315
DOI
10.1177/1461444818758715
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In light of the recent US election, many fear that “fake news” has become a force of enormous reach and influence within the news media environment. We draw on well-established theories of audience behavior to argue that the online fake news audience, like most niche content, would be a small subset of the total news audience, especially those with high availability. By examining online visitation data across mobile and desktop platforms in the months leading up to and following the 2016 presidential election, we indeed find the fake news audience comprises a small, disloyal group of heavy Internet users. We also find that social network sites play an outsized role in generating traffic to fake news. With this revised understanding, we revisit the democratic implications of the fake news crisis.

Journal

New Media & SocietySAGE

Published: Oct 1, 2018

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