A flood of false headlines probably did not swing America’s election

DONALD TRUMP often presents himself as the great enemy of fake news. He has a pronounced tendency to accuse his opponents of peddling it. But some suspect it helped to deliver him the White House. One story, widely shared on social media in the run-up to the American election, alleged that the Clinton Foundation bought $137m in illegal arms and organised a child sex ring operating out of a pizza shop in Washington, DC. If this kind of ludicrous story influenced voters and helped push Mr Trump into the presidency, then the implications for American democracy are grim. Speaking truth to power is harder in a world where lies are cooked up for clicks.

new working paper by two economics professors, Hunt Allcott of New York University and Matthew Gentzkow of Stanford University, is the first major study to have a data-driven crack at this topic. Though they do not estimate the impact of fake news directly, their…Continue reading

from Business and finance http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2017/01/fake-news?fsrc=rss

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