University of Hertfordshire


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Original languageEnglish
TypeThis note considers how people access news online, how algorithms (sequences of instructions) and social networks influence the content that users see, and options for mitigating any negative impact
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 12 Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes


Social media platforms and Internet search engines have made it easier to produce, distribute and access information online.
 These technologies, combined with user behaviour, filter the content that users see. Some studies suggest that this limits users’ exposure to attitude-challenging information, while others argue that users still see a wider range of information than offline.
Online fake news has the potential to confuse and deceive users, and is often
financially or politically motivated.
 UK efforts to address these issues are largely led by industry and focus on fake news. They include better identification, fact-checking and user education.


Acknowledgements POSTnotes are based on literature reviews and interviews with a range of stakeholders and are externally peer reviewed. POST would like to thank interviewees and peer reviewers for kindly giving up their time during the preparation of this briefing, including: Prof Rob Procter, University of Warwick* Dr Jonathon Bright, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford* Prof Philip Howard, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford Sam Woolley, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford Monica Kaminska, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford* Dr Helena Webb, Computer Science, University of Oxford* Dr Richard Fletcher, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, University of Oxford* Prof Adam Joinson, University of Bath* Dr Emma Williams, University of Bath* Dr Ana Levordska, University of Bath* Dr Felipe Romero Moreno, University of Hertfordshire* Dr Frederik Zuiderveen Borgesius, University of Amsterdam* Amy Sippett, FullFact Phoebe Arnold, FullFact* Claire Wardle, First Draft News Jessica Montgomery, The Royal Society* Fergus Bell, Dig Deeper Media* Emma Collins, Facebook* Karim Palant, Facebook Nick Pickles, Twitter* Dave Skelton, Google Niall Duffy, Independent Press Standards Organisation* Jim Waterson, BuzzFeed News* Patrick Worrall, Channel 4 News* Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport* Ofcom* Department for Education* Cabinet Office *Denotes people who acted as external reviewers of the briefing.

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