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The Science of Fake News

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The Science of Fake News

Addressing fake news requires a multidisciplinary effort


5 min read
5 take-aways
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What's inside?

Fake news has become pervasive worldwide. How can society better recognize and reject this false information?

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  • Analytical
  • Scientific
  • Hot Topic


The Internet has led to a boon in information and media producers. Many of them appear to be legitimate news media, but they reject established journalistic standards. These media peddlers use social media and bots (nonhuman accounts) to spread fake news. The pervasiveness of fake news pollutes the quality of available information. Its long-term effects on society are also unclear. Political science professor David M.J. Lazer and his colleagues suggest how media users and information platforms can stop fake news. getAbstract recommends this article to anyone who is trying to separate the wheat from the chaff.


The Internet has facilitated the rise and spread of fake news.

Fake news is made-up information packaged to look like news from legitimate media. It shares characteristics with “misinformation (false or misleading information)” and “disinformation (false information that is purposely spread to deceive people)”. The Internet’s cheap and easy access has allowed an increase in the number of information producers. Many of these producers lack or reject fair and impartial reporting.

Bots on social media can spread fake news lightning-fast.

Bots (nonhuman accounts) can spread ...

About the Authors

David M.J. Lazer is a professor of political science and computer and information science at Northeastern University. Matthew A. Baum is the Marvin Kalb Professor of Global Communications and professor of public policy at Harvard University.

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