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“Interesting if true”: A factor that helps explain why people share misinformation | Nieman Journalism Lab

By Mark Coddington and Seth Lewis
October 6, 2021

Is there a journalist among us who has not been tempted by a hot story tip that sounds slightly implausible but, hey, would be deliciously fascinating if true?

Imagining that, you can get an idea of why social media users might be inclined to share a news story with their friends that may not be clearly true news or false news but which, either way, would be really interesting if true.

new study in Digital Journalism explores that hypothetical by introducing this concept of interestingness-if-true — the quality of how interesting a piece of news would be if it were true — and testing how it might be connected to other factors (such as the perceived accuracy of a news item) that help explain why people might share news online, true or otherwise.

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Source: “Interesting if true”: A factor that helps explain why people share misinformation | Nieman Journalism Lab

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