*This text was written by a TecMundo columnist; finally learn more.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, people started using social networks even more as a way to stay connected with each other and the world. For example, on Tik Tok alone, the number of users increased from around 500 million at the end of 2019 to over 1 billion in mid-2021. As a result, given the importance of this type of media in science communication, the increase in false news on this topic was enormous.

This concern for the harmful potential of social networks has led many to view social networks as a threat to our way of life in society, rather than as a possible tool to promote the dissemination of human knowledge to as many people as possible, however paradoxical it may seem. as possible.

The spread of false news on social networks is a big problem because unlike traditional media (such as television, radio and print newspapers), these networks do not have any moderation, meaning there are no professionals responsible for them. to check the accuracy of the information before introducing it. In social networks, users and consumers of news may also be responsible for the generation and dissemination of news and ideas. One thing that may be questioned is what makes people believe fake news and (worse still) willingly share it?

To try to understand this phenomenon, take a moment and ask yourself a question about how you interact with news on social networks. This interaction can be understood as evaluating the accuracy of the news and deciding on a possible sharing of this news. One way or another, it’s not absurd to think that for most people this interaction happens quickly and often carelessly as they scroll through their “feed” and find news about Science, about cooking, and Science just before a video, right after a video. For example, cats playing the piano.

In the study published in the American Science journal in March of the same year, scientists evaluated how accurately different people evaluated the accuracy of the headlines. Then, the results were compared according to whether such headlines were shared or not. The result found is at least intriguing and, in the worst case scenario, alarming.

Scientists found that when people were asked to judge certain headlines as true or false (without being asked whether they intended to share the news on their networks), the accuracy of those judgments was much higher than before they made that assessment. . , people were asked if they would like to share the title in question.

That is, when people first expressed that they wanted to share a particular topic, these people tended to rate it correctly. And the opposite is true for people saying they won’t post headlines because they think they’re unfounded. This study shows that although false news is voluntarily disseminated, social network users share such misinformation because they truly believe or at least want such news to be true.

However, when we evaluate the intention to share a particular story, we can think of several reasons why a user might be encouraged to do so. For example, sharing relevant news can increase your social prestige. However, the researchers found a correlation between this decision to share fake news and people’s political views.

That is, if scientific news does not support people’s political views, the acceptance of such news, no matter how strong the evidence, is low. On the other hand, when information appears politically positive, its acceptance becomes much easier. That’s why it’s always important to remember that Science and nature as a whole don’t care one iota of our personal opinions. At least they shouldn’t.

Rodolfo Lima Barros SouzaProfessor of Physics and columnist Technology World. He holds a master’s degree in Physics and Science and Mathematics Teaching in Public Perception of Science from Unicamp. Available on social networks as @rodolfo.sou.

Source: Tec Mundo

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I'm Blaine Morgan, an experienced journalist and writer with over 8 years of experience in the tech industry. My expertise lies in writing about technology news and trends, covering everything from cutting-edge gadgets to emerging software developments. I've written for several leading publications including Gadget Onus where I am an author.


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