Title: An empirical study on internet-based false news stories: experiences, problem awareness and responsibilities

Authors: Sven Grüner

Addresses: Institute of Agricultural and Nutritional Sciences, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Karl-Freiherr-von-Fritsch-Str. 4, 06120 Halle, Saale, Germany

Abstract: The human information portfolio includes correct and incorrect information. False news stories constitute a challenge for our democracy. Therefore, scientists are increasingly interested in redesigning the information ecosystem. This paper addresses the problem awareness of university students in the realm of false news stories. With the help of a questionnaire, we seek interesting correlations to generate hypotheses that can be analysed in further studies with new data (i.e., exploratory study). They read as follows: 1) people are less likely to assume that they are dealing with false news stories the stronger they trust in others and the more emphasis they put on the opinions of others; 2) false news stories are perceived as a problem at the societal level but not at the individual level; 3) men overestimate their ability to spot false news stories; 4) people see operators of platforms to be in charge of false news stories.

Keywords: study type: exploratory; information economics; false news stories; information ecosystem; social network; institutional economics.

DOI: 10.1504/IJADS.2022.120263

International Journal of Applied Decision Sciences, 2022 Vol.15 No.1, pp.15 - 45

Received: 14 Feb 2020
Accepted: 20 Jul 2020

Published online: 11 Jan 2022 *

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