Thursday, April 16, 2020

News consumption of any sort is heavily outweighed by other forms of media consumption; fake news comprises only 0.15% of Americans’ daily media diet

Evaluating the fake news problem at the scale of the information ecosystem. Jennifer Allen et al. Science Advances Apr 3 2020, Vol. 6, no. 14, eaay3539. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aay3539

Abstract: “Fake news,” broadly defined as false or misleading information masquerading as legitimate news, is frequently asserted to be pervasive online with serious consequences for democracy. Using a unique multimode dataset that comprises a nationally representative sample of mobile, desktop, and television consumption, we refute this conventional wisdom on three levels. First, news consumption of any sort is heavily outweighed by other forms of media consumption, comprising at most 14.2% of Americans’ daily media diets. Second, to the extent that Americans do consume news, it is overwhelmingly from television, which accounts for roughly five times as much as news consumption as online. Third, fake news comprises only 0.15% of Americans’ daily media diet. Our results suggest that the origins of public misinformedness and polarization are more likely to lie in the content of ordinary news or the avoidance of news altogether as they are in overt fakery.


Summarizing, we note that according to Google Scholar at the time of final submission, 2210 English language publications with “fake news” in the title had appeared since January 2017, compared with just 73 in all the years leading up to and including 2016. Not only has interest in fake news clearly exploded in the past 2 years, but it has also far outstripped attention to TV news: A comparable count yielded just 329 articles published since 2017 containing either “television news” or “TV news” in their titles, while 708 articles contained “online news,” 394 contained “Twitter” or “Facebook” and “news,” and 556 contained “social media” and “news.” Restricting further to studies that explicitly connect misinformation to a particular platform, Google Scholar yielded 99 results containing both “misinformation” and one of “online” or “social media” or “web” in the title since 2017, but just 1 result for “misinformation” and “television” or “TV”—an article about the unrealistic survival rates of cardiopulmonary resuscitation on TV shows. This evident focus of the recent research literature on online sources of fake news and misinformation is directionally and proportionately inconsistent with our results in three ways. First, whereas the research treats news consumption as the issue of primary importance, we find that most media consumption, whether online or on TV, is not news related. Second, whereas research on online news—and even more specifically news on social media platforms—markedly outweighs research on TV news, we find that TV news consumption dominates online by a ratio of 5:1 (where the ratio is even more extreme for social media sites). Third, whereas the topic of fake news outstrips all other news-related research, we find that fake news itself is only 1% of overall news consumption, substantially lower for Twitter alone (8). Instead, news consumption is heavily dominated by mainstream news sources both online and on TV.
We emphasize that our results do not imply that fake news is not a problem worthy of attention. Arguably the deliberate circulation of false information with the objective of creating confusion and discord is intolerable in principle and should be combatted at any prevalence greater than zero. Moreover, it is possible that news consumed online could have more impact per minute of exposure than news consumed on TV, or that fake news could have an outsized impact compared with regular news, or that it could have large impacts on certain subpopulations. Last, we note that our definitions of news and fake news are—with the exception of YouTube—dependent on site or program-level classifications. News-relevant content on social media that is not tied to a particular URL, or false or misleading information that is promulgated by generally reliable news sources, would therefore be misclassified by our scheme. We hope that future work will address all of these areas of uncertainty. We note, however, that our methodology was designed to be consistent with previous work, which also has used list-based classification and relied on prevalence (i.e., not impact) to assess importance. On those terms, our finding that fake news is extremely rare, comprising only about one-tenth of 1% of Americans’ overall daily media diet, suggests that concerns regarding possible threats to democracy should be much broader in scope than deliberately engineered falsehoods circulating on social media. In particular, public ignorance or misunderstanding of important political matters could also arise out of a combination of (i) ordinary bias and agenda setting in the mainstream media (2325)) and (ii) the overall low exposure of many Americans to news content in general, especially in written form. We conclude that future work on misinformation and its potentially corrosive effects on democracy should consider all potential sources of problematic content, as well as the absence of relevant content, not simply the type that is most easily identified and least associated with conventional media interests (19).


Supplementary material for this article is available at

Using femme theory, Foucault, and queer failure as analytical frameworks, the current paper demonstrates the role of feminine failure in resisting and subverting systems of oppression

Femme resistance: the fem(me)inine art of failure. Rhea Ashley Hoskin, & Allison Taylor. Psychology & Sexuality, Volume 10, 2019 - Issue 4, Pages 281-300, May 13 2019.

ABSTRACT: Using femme theory, Foucault, and queer failure as analytical frameworks, the current paper demonstrates the role of feminine failure in resisting and subverting systems of oppression, subsequently providing the minute shifts in power necessary to expand the terms of patriarchal femininity. More specifically, the current paper draws on contemporary modes of art and aesthetics to examine the productive potential of failing to embody patriarchal femininity, positing this failure as a form of femme resistance. By hijacking cultural signifiers of adornment, femme and feminine failure celebrate that which is culturally shamed (queer, fat, disabled, variant, poor, and racially minoritised bodies), expose systems of erasure, challenge binary systems of meaning, and promote feminine growth. Examining each of these themes in turn, the current paper argues that feminine failure challenges the pillars of patriarchal femininity and discursive systems of normativity. To this end, femme as a theoretical framework demonstrates the freedom of failure by exposing the heterogeneous multiplicities of femininity, and offering possibilities that normativity never could. This critical discursive essay contributes to the emergent application of femme as a theoretical framework.

KEYWORDS: Femme, queer femininity, queer resistance, femininities, femme theory, critical femininities

The colors of love: facial thermal reactions of people thinking about their lovers

The colors of love: facial thermal reactions of people thinking about their lovers. Fabio Cannas Aghedu et al. Psychology & Sexuality, Apr 15 2020.

Abstract: Romantic love involves peculiar psychological and neural processes that are closely connected with autonomic-visceral changes. The present study aimed at investigating the thermal response associated to the love induction task. The facial thermal imprints of forty-four people who were in love and in romantic relationships at the time of the experiment were recorded. Thermal signals were extracted from six regions of interest (ROIs), positioned on the tip of the nose, the upper nose and the perioral areas. The experimental protocol was composed of two conditions, randomized among the subjects: love and control conditions. In the first one, participants were initially asked to think about their partners, then to keep continuing this task while listening to a song related to their relationships; in the second one, they were asked to think about someone else’s relationship, then keep continuing this task while listening to positive-content song, unknown to the specific participant.

The results showed that, when experiencing the love condition, the temperature of the nasal tip of the subjects increased, compared to the control condition. Moreover, the data showed that music induced a far more intense peripheral response. Thinking about their partners whilst listening to the love song caused higher peripheral (nose temperature) and subjective responses than with the unknown happy song, which suggests that love induction task activates peculiar patterns that go beyond mere positive feelings.

Key words: Romantic love, Love induction task, Peripheral measures, Functional infrared thermal imaging, Emotions, Psychophysiology