Perceived social presence reduces fact-checking

Youjung Jun, Rachel Meng, Gita Venkataramani Johar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Today's media landscape affords people access to richer information than ever before, with many individuals opting to consume content through social channels rather than traditional news sources. Although people frequent social platforms for a variety of reasons, we understand little about the consequences of encountering new information in these contexts, particularly with respect to how content is scrutinized. This research tests how perceiving the presence of others (as on social media platforms) affects the way that individuals evaluate information-in particular, the extent to which they verify ambiguous claims. Eight experiments using incentivized real effort tasks found that people are less likely to fact-check statements when they feel that they are evaluating them in the presence of others compared with when they are evaluating them alone. Inducing vigilance immediately before evaluation increased fact-checking under social settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5976-5981
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume114
Issue number23
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jun 6

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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