Research Topic

The Psychology of Fake News on Social Media: Who falls for it, who shares it, why, and can we help users detect it?

About this Research Topic

The proliferation of fake news on social media has become a major societal concern which has been shown to impact U.S. elections, referenda, and most recently effective public health messaging for the COVID-19 pandemic. While some advances on the use of automated systems to detect and highlight fake news have been made, research into the human factors that allow individuals to believe, and share, fake news is still in its early stages. In this special topic, we invite researchers to contribute to a collection of papers that highlight the current state of the art in our understanding of the perception, effectiveness, and sharing of fake news, and how we might help to combat its effects.

The goal of this Research Topic is to generate a collection of papers outlining the latest advances in our understanding of the psychological factors that underpin the acceptance of fake news, how we can combat the acceptance and proliferation of fake news on social media, and to help focus and set an agenda for research in this area going forward.

In this Research Topic, we would welcome contributions to the following questions/issues, however, authors should not feel limited by these, as there are many aspects of fakes news that require research, and all relevant papers will be considered:

1. More research is needed on 'who falls for fake news'? That is, what are the psychological/human factors that make one individual more susceptible to fake news than another?

2. What news topics are more susceptible to fake news? While we are aware that fake news has a negative impact in political contexts, to what extent is it pervasive in other news topics/advertising/societal issues.

3. We would welcome papers that investigate the effects of fake news on COVID-19/vaccine/public health messaging, and how any negative impact could be ameliorated.

4. 'Who shares fake news'? The sharing of fake news is what provides it with its impact. We would welcome research on identifying what makes an individual share/re-post items on social media and the effect of the veracity of the content.

5. We would also welcome papers on potential cultural differences in fake news perception, and its effects, in non-western populations.

6. What are the solutions for fake news detection? (education, software…)


Keywords: Fake news, misinformation, social media, election, referendum, politics, democracy, communication, Facebook, Twitter, psychology, individual differences, intervention


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

The proliferation of fake news on social media has become a major societal concern which has been shown to impact U.S. elections, referenda, and most recently effective public health messaging for the COVID-19 pandemic. While some advances on the use of automated systems to detect and highlight fake news have been made, research into the human factors that allow individuals to believe, and share, fake news is still in its early stages. In this special topic, we invite researchers to contribute to a collection of papers that highlight the current state of the art in our understanding of the perception, effectiveness, and sharing of fake news, and how we might help to combat its effects.

The goal of this Research Topic is to generate a collection of papers outlining the latest advances in our understanding of the psychological factors that underpin the acceptance of fake news, how we can combat the acceptance and proliferation of fake news on social media, and to help focus and set an agenda for research in this area going forward.

In this Research Topic, we would welcome contributions to the following questions/issues, however, authors should not feel limited by these, as there are many aspects of fakes news that require research, and all relevant papers will be considered:

1. More research is needed on 'who falls for fake news'? That is, what are the psychological/human factors that make one individual more susceptible to fake news than another?

2. What news topics are more susceptible to fake news? While we are aware that fake news has a negative impact in political contexts, to what extent is it pervasive in other news topics/advertising/societal issues.

3. We would welcome papers that investigate the effects of fake news on COVID-19/vaccine/public health messaging, and how any negative impact could be ameliorated.

4. 'Who shares fake news'? The sharing of fake news is what provides it with its impact. We would welcome research on identifying what makes an individual share/re-post items on social media and the effect of the veracity of the content.

5. We would also welcome papers on potential cultural differences in fake news perception, and its effects, in non-western populations.

6. What are the solutions for fake news detection? (education, software…)


Keywords: Fake news, misinformation, social media, election, referendum, politics, democracy, communication, Facebook, Twitter, psychology, individual differences, intervention


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

08 August 2021 Abstract
06 December 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

08 August 2021 Abstract
06 December 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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