Nearly 75% Of Americans Overestimate Their Ability To Spot Fake News, Study Finds

We all know that modern social media is overrun with fake news: exaggerated or even completely fabricated 'news' stories from sketchy sites.

Most of us probably think we can spot this stuff from a mile away. But a new study reveals an uncomfortable truth: nearly three quarters of Americans are unable to spot fake news, even though they think they can.

Researchers had participants study headlines in a Facebook-style feed.

They were asked to assess their ability to spot the difference between real news and fake news.

"In all, these results paint a worrying picture: The individuals who are least equipped to identify false news content are also the least aware of their own limitations and, therefore, more susceptible to believing it and spreading it further," wrote the authors.

What's it mean?

In short, it isn't just that many people don't recognize fake news.

It's that many people don't recognize fake news while expressing extreme confidence that they can, in fact, recognize fake news.

According to the study, Republicans were more likely to fall for fake news than Democrats.

"Republicans are more overconfident than Democrats, which is not surprising given the lower levels of media trust they report," wrote the authors.

In all, about nine out of ten participants said they were "above average" at spotting fake news stories.

What's the reason for this overconfidence?

The findings don't confirm this, but they seem to suggest that the disparity between perceived ability and actual ability to sniff out fake news could be a big contributor to how much false information is shared on social media.

What do you think?

Fake news is a worrying epidemic online, and it's one that doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.

Share your stories, along with your advice for determining whether a news story is credible, in the comments section!

h/t: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America