It’s not difficult to verify whether a new piece of information is accurate; however, most people don’t take that step before sharing it on social media, regardless of age, social class or gender, an Ohio University study has found.

A new study conducted by Ohio University professor Dr. M. Laeeq Khan found that several factors can be used to predict someone’s ability to detect misinformation, otherwise known as “fake news,” on social media. Additionally, the study found that, by looking at certain factors, it is also possible to predict if someone is likely to share misinformation based on the same factors.

The study, titled “Recognise misinformation and verify before sharing: a reasoned action and information literacy perspective,” was published in the journal Behaviour and Information Technology.

“The important role of information literacy is often taken for granted. It was found that information verification skills such as simply Googling some new piece of information and not sharing it right away could prove beneficial in halting the spread of misinformation.”

“Online users must possess an attitude of healthy scepticism when any information comes their way. Such an attitude of information verification by individuals can prove to be a major counterweight to the rising misinformation online.”

The study found that people from lower education levels, lower-income and those newer to the internet would benefit most from learning additional information literacy.

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