The more willing a social media user is to share news and other content with others, the less willing they are to care about the accuracy of what they want to promote.

This is according to a new US MIT University research based on experiments, according to which many people are reluctant to think beforehand about whether or not the content they want to share is real – as long as it grabs their attention and “makes them”. .

In fact, it is enough, before even deciding, to ask yourself whether you will share something on social media, to reduce your ability to judge and distinguish the truth from the lie. Which inevitably leads to the spread of more fake news.

The researchers, who published in the journal Science Advances, asked 3,157 people to rate online whether a series of news stories about politics and the pandemic were accurate. Participants were randomly divided into two groups.

In only the second group, the participants were asked to ask themselves whether they would share a piece of news via Twitter or Facebook.

It found that these people were 35% worse at distinguishing true news from fake news than members of the first group, who were never asked to ask themselves whether they would share the news with others.

“Just asking people if they want to share something makes them more likely to believe news headlines they wouldn’t otherwise believe and less likely to believe headlines they should,” said lead researcher MIT Professor David Rudd.

The researchers spoke of “a substantial tension between sharing and accuracy in the social media realm,” as “these two things do not reinforce each other in a positive way.”

As they said, “these findings suggest that people may be particularly vulnerable to believing false claims on social media, given that sharing is a key component of what makes social media social.”