Who believes fake news in Spain?

Nina Wiesehomeier and D.J. Flynn, School of Global and Public Affairs, IE University
Winning article of the Call to support social research projects based on the conducting of surveys, 2019.

Fake news stories have distorted recent regional, national, and European elections and undermine public efforts to address pressing crises, as for instance the current coronavirus outbreak. Populist leaders and parties exacerbate these challenges by promoting conspiracy theories and questioning the credibility of experts. We find that voters with conspiratorial and populist attitudes are more likely to believe fake news stories. Attempts to fact-check false claims often fail and, in some cases, backfire. Our results underscore the difficulty of effectively combating misinformation and the need for conducting experimental trials to identify effective corrections and prevent unintended consequences.
Key points
  • 1
       Conspiratorial and populist attitudes are related to believing fake news.
  • 2
       People who get their news from social media (Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter) are more likely to believe fake news.
  • 3
       Corrective messages that call into question more strongly held personal beliefs and convictions may backfire and increase fake news belief.
  • 4
       No source of corrective messages (institutional or individual) is more effective than any other: different types of sources create similar effects.
Prevalence of belief in fake news. Percentage of respondents who believe that the stories are true
Prevalence of belief in fake news. Percentage of respondents who believe that the stories are true

Whereas 85% of respondents considered it to be true that human activity is causing extreme weather events, the level of belief in the other claims (all of them false) was highly varied. Half of the respondents believed that patent holders were limiting the supply of cancer drugs in order to boost their profits or that genetically modified foods were unsafe. Only around 10% believed that the Spanish government was planning to replace language classes with religion classes in schools.

Classification

Authors

Nina Wiesehomeier and D.J. Flynn , School of Global and Public Affairs, IE University

Tags

Subject areas

Related content

call

Connect Call: from research to the social sector

The Social Observatory is launching this call with the aim of promoting the relationship and combined work between the research sphere and the practice sphere (social sector and public administration) and of increasing the social impact of both spheres.

Article

Whom do we trust?

Does ethnic discrimination exist in the second-hand market online? This study analyses its presence in transactions between buyers and sellers in Spain.

Article

Paid and unpaid work: the pandemic intensifies the phenomenon of double shift among women

According to this study, the gender gap in total hours of work, paid and unpaid, has increased to 16 hours during the pandemic.

Article

Regularising the situation of the immigrant population does not result in a “call ef-fect”

What were the consequences of the regularisation, in 2005, of 600,000 non-EU immigrants who were working in Spain? This study reveals that it did not lead to any “call effect”, but did lead to increased tax revenues.

Article

The presence of immigrants in local politics is well below their demographic weight in Spanish society

Do municipal councils in Spain reflect the diversity of origins of the population? We analyse access to local politics for immigrants and whether differences exist between the different foreign groups.

You may also find interesting

Infodata

Disproportionate housing costs

Disproportionate housing costs

Social Inclusion

Some 30.4% of people of foreign origin live in households in which their housing costs exceed 40% of their disposable income.

Report

Long-life societies confronting the challenge of long-term care

Long-life societies confronting the challenge of long-term care

Social Inclusion

What does long-term care represent for societies with increasing life expectancy? We analyse the research that exists on this issue.

Infodata

Employment rates of the population (aged 24 to 64)

Employment rates of the population (aged 24 to 64)

Social Inclusion

Does being an immigrant influence employability? Judging by the data, yes, and prominently: in 2018, the occupation rate of the foreign population in Spain with higher education was 9.2 points below that of the native population.