There is a reasonable hypothesis that “fake news” websites helped to spread false information to the millions of voters who are active Facebook users. Anecdotally, I saw a large number of fake news stories in my own Facebook feed. As my colleague Eytan Adar noted, if we expect that social media changes purchasing decisions, it is only reasonable to expect that it can change political decisions as well. I would love to see work coming out of the HCI community to address this issue. This definitely seems like a problem that we could at least mitigate with well-designed technical and sociotechnical solutions.
HCI and the U.S. Presidential Election: A Few Thoughts on a Research Agenda
Brent Hecht
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There is a wall of privileged access in social media research. If we are to democratize news and label “fake news”, the social media platform vendors (SMPV’s) must develop policies that democratize and open research on their platforms.

As researchers and smart people, we recognize this need is in conflict with how the platforms make money: Selling advertising. Open research will be viewed as risk inside SMPV’s. I would like to see some of the most well connected convene a broader discussion with SMPV’s than the community has witnessed to date.

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