In a world of # fake news, more Americans get their COVID-related news from the same place

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More people are flocking to one source for updates on COVID-19. The number of readers of articles in medical journals soared 557% between March and July 2019 and from March to July 2020, although the total number of articles published per month remained constant, according to research published in JAMA Network Open, a published monthly open access medical journal. by the American Medical Association.

Amid allegations of social media bias and political bias among top publications, researchers examined PDF and full views of articles published by three widely read English-language general medical journals: JAMA, The New England Journal of Medicine and BMJ (British Medical Journal). “The COVID-19 pandemic has increased overall article viewing for major medical journals in 2020, with unprecedented views per article for COVID-19-related publications,” the researchers concluded. In fact, they said their analysis suggested that original non-COVID-19 research articles are receiving similar attention to before the pandemic.

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“‘The COVID-19 pandemic has increased overall article viewing for major medical journals in 2020, with unprecedented views per article for COVID-19-related publications.’ ”

It suggests that people are more interested in seeking medical information from scientists. “This work begins to address the question of how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected care for other diseases in the medical literature. These findings may be limited by different approaches to reporting page views and varying numbers of articles published among the journals studied. ”And yet most Americans believe that the COVID-19 situation in the United States is improving, despite evidence of an increase in cases, with their level of concern about the coronavirus reaching a low level not seen since April 2020 during the first wave of the pandemic. US President Joe Biden, told reporters in a recent speech: “This is not the time to slow down our efforts.” Earlier this month, Google GOOG, -0.04% said it will contribute 25 million euros (29.3 million euros). dollars) to the newly created European Media and Information Fund to combat fake news. Tech giants face regulatory pressure in Europe for content hosted on their platforms, especially articles related to the coronavirus pandemic and the US presidential elections last November. Twitter and Facebook FB, -0.86% have pledged to take a more aggressive stance on fake news on their sites, with both platforms permanently suspending Donald Trump‘s accounts last January after being accused of inciting the deadly insurrection in the United States Capitol. The former president denied doing so in several Facebook posts before his official ban.

“The ‘confirmation bias’ helps outlandish theories and reports to gain traction on social media. And that’s where, psychologists say, is where the fake news comes in. ”

The mainstream media were attacked during the previous administration. Trump frequently labeled as “fake” news outlets who have critically reported on his administration, but have also described CNN T, + 0.88%, NBC CMCSA, + ​​0.53%, ABC DIS, + 0.65%, CBS US: CBS and New York Times NYT, -1.00% as “the enemy of the American people.” Many news outlets now regularly verify stories, such as those related to the shooting at a massage parlor in Atlanta last month and undocumented immigrants crossing into the U.S. along the southern border, despite the fact that these stories were widely shared on social media. And CNN also verified President Biden’s first press conference at the White House. This 2019 study found that Republican Americans over 65 were more likely to share fake news. The findings suggest the need for “renewed attention” to educate “particularly vulnerable individuals” about false news or misleading information that appears to resemble a verified news article published by a legitimate, fact-based news outlet, according to the study. . So why are baby boomers more likely to share fake news on Facebook? One theory: Since they didn’t grow up with technology, they may be more susceptible to being fooled. Case in point: the variety of scams that have been successful with older Americans by taking advantage of their unfamiliarity with how computers and technology work. Younger Americans who grew up with the Internet, regardless of their political leanings, tend to be less overwhelmed by the stories that cross their news feeds on Facebook and Twitter TWTR, + 4.30% and are more adept at spotting telltale signs of fake news. But they are also bombarded by news, real and fake, related to the pandemic. The first news reports during the pandemic were to distinguish between COVID-19 and the flu. The “confirmation bias” helps outlandish theories and reports to gain traction on social media. And that’s where, psychologists say, is where fake news comes in. With so much noise on social media, how can people distinguish between rumor and reality? Psychologists say that people develop defense mechanisms to cope with an uncertain world early in life. Peer-reviewed studies can help.