Reluctant to Share: How Third Person Perceptions of Fake News Discourage News Readers From Sharing “Real News” on Social Media

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Rampant fake news on social media has drawn significant attention. Yet, much remains unknown as to how such imbalanced evaluations of self versus others could shape social media users’ perceptions and their subsequent attitudes and behavioral intentions regarding social media news. An online survey (N = 335) was conducted to examine the third person effect (TPE) in fake news on social media and suggested that users perceived a greater influence of fake news on others than on themselves. However, although users evaluated fake news as socially undesirable, they were still unsupportive of government censorship as a remedy. In addition, the perceived prevalence of fake news leads audiences to reported significantly less willingness to share all news on social media either online or offline.



fake news, third person effect, social media