AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Just because you share an article on social media, doesn’t make you an expert on a topic, right? New University of Texas research says a lot of people think it does.
We live in the age of sharing news online; in fact, it’s how most people consume it these days.
“When you’re sharing posts on social media are you thinking that you know everything about a topic?” reporter Jala Washington asked student Evelyn Martinez.
“It depends on the subject,” Martinez said. “I will admit sometimes I do kind of feel like I know it all.”
Some are brave enough to admit they might be sharing without fully reading an article. However, when people re-post for their friends and followers, they are confident in what they’re putting out there.
“People have this mis-calibrated sense of knowledge,” said UT Austin Associate Dean for Research Susan Broniarczyk. “That also means that they’re less likely to go and actually read additional information to correct that. So, it’s very hard to alter that false perception of knowledge or correct some fake news or false perceptions.”
According to Broniarczyk, just over half of consumers who read a story online read the entire story. Only 26% partly read it, and 22% simply looked at the headline.
“We highly endorse some pilot programs that both Facebook and Twitter have enacted, where if you go to share an article, and they can tell that you haven’t actually clicked on it, to read it, they’ll prompt you to say you might consider actually reading this before you share,” Broniarczyk said.
Martinez recognizes the possible harm of sharing information without fully reading an article and has advice for others.
“Read,” Martinez said. “Read everything, read every word…and do your research.”