Study: Duterte Fans, People Who Trust Facebook for Information Tend to Believe Fake News
MANILA, Philippines – According to research by Boses, Opinyon, Siyasat, in Siyensya para sa Pilipinas (Boses Pilipinas).
The findings were based on a working study authored by Boses Pilipinas coordinator Dr. Imelda Deinla and three other authors titled “The Link Between Misinformation Sensitivity and Youth Political Polarization in the Philippines.”
The researchers created a 10-point quiz consisting of 5 fake stories about members of the Philippine Cabinet, along with 5 other true stories. Respondents were asked to validate whether a particular quote card is true or false.
The majority or 52.5% of young respondents got only six to eight correct answers or an average score of 6.9 in a 10-question fake news quiz.
“Overall, we can conclude based on these numbers that our students have only average skills in identifying fake news,” Deinla said during an online press conference on Wednesday.
The survey was conducted from August 23 to September 24 among 20,000 students eligible to vote.
Deinla said this was already the second round of surveys, which showed results very similar to the first round of surveys.
The first round of surveys was conducted from May 17 to June 24 with 7,744 respondents, according to Deinla.
Duterte supporters more prone to fake news
The results show that respondents who support President Rodrigo Duterte are more likely to believe fake news and less likely to believe real news.
Respondents who support opposition leader Vice President Leni Robredo, on the other hand, are more likely to identify real news as real and fake news as fake, the researchers found.
“We find evidence that partisan supporters of President Duterte are more likely to inaccurately identify fake and real news, compared to partisan opposition supporters,” the study authors said.
When asked the reason for the split in respondents between Robredo and Duterte supporters, Deinla said:
“Sila po ang ating ginamit kasi sila naman po talaga yung are both the highest officials in our country and they are also representative of these two oppositions now,” Deinla said.
(We used them because they are both the most senior officials in our country and are also representative of these two oppositions now.)
“Naniniwala po kami na yung pagmeasure or yung pagkalkula ng partisan politics or polarization is relational. Ibig sabihin, there are opposite sides or poles to this, so nakita po natin or yung ginawa po nating proxy or representative po si Pangulong Duterte doon sa kabilang panig and doon naman sa kabilang panig si VP Robredo,” he said. she adds.
(We believe that the measure of political partisanship and polarization is relational. This means that there are opposite sides or poles to this, so we noticed that we place President Duterte and Vice President Robredo as proxies from two different sides.)
Deinla also said the discovery “is not new.”
“This behavior is also seen among Republican supporters in the United States,” Deinla said.
“It’s possible that these ‘partisan’ tendencies to fall into disinformation are the product of the same disinformation networks (i.e. individuals or groups that spread fake news) to which Duterte supporters and Republicans are exposed or due to the possible impact of constant or high exposure to fake news being the new norm, therefore to look at the facts in a different way,” Deinla added.
Respondents were asked to rate their approval of government officials, including Duterte and Robredo. These approval ratings were used to determine and then calculate a respondent’s degree of political polarization, a momentary split in favor of two political elites.
Respondents’ political affiliation was determined using an ordinal scale. The researchers measured a respondent’s approval of Duterte and Robredo’s performance as president and vice president, respectively, with values of 5 ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree to 1.
More respondents were 23.7 (1,760) “strongly approved” of Duterte’s leadership than Robredo’s at 15.7% or 1,165 respondents.
However, more respondents also “strongly disapproved” of Duterte’s performance at 23.2% or 1,724 respondents, compared to 13.3% or 987 who “strongly disapproved” of Robredo’s performance.
Mainstream media skeptics are more prone to fake news
The researchers also observed that those who trust Facebook more as a source of information than mainstream media are more prone to fake news.
“Various studies show that respondents who trust mainstream media are less likely to believe fake news and engage in conspiratorial thinking. They are predisposed to believe “official” versions of an event over personal or exaggerated accounts online,” Deinla pointed out.
The study indicates that only 2% of respondents, or 384 respondents, find Facebook to be a very reliable source of information. Said respondents scored just 5.7 on the 10 questions in the fake news quiz.
On the other hand, 26% or 6,388 respondents who consider Facebook an untrustworthy news source showed the greatest ability to tell fake news from real news, with a score of 7.2 out of 10.
Deinla said trust in social media and Facebook “impairs one’s ability to detect misinformation.”
“Users who are predisposed to believe information that reflects their feelings are at greater risk from online disinformation networks,” Deinla said.
“Filipino youth are now immersed in an environment, perhaps a culture, of fake news,” she added. “If we want to create a better future for our young people – one that knows the truth, who can judge right from wrong, who can trust institutions – then we will need a collective effort to overcome this information pandemic. .”
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