Researchers call for large-scale scientific investigation into fake news

The journal Science has published an essay by researchers at such high-profile organizations as Microsoft, Harvard, Yale and MIT.

They discuss extant social and computer science research regarding belief in fake news and the mechanisms by which it spreads.  Fake news has a long history, but the essay focuses  on unanswered scientific questions raised by the proliferation of its most recent, politically oriented incarnation.

Summary:  The indictment of 13 Russians in the operation of a “troll farm” that spread false information related to the 2016 U.S. presidential election has renewed the spotlight on the power of “fake news” to influence public opinion. Now, a professor who studies the spread of misinformation online is joining prominent legal scholars, social scientists and researchers in a global “call to action” in the fight against it.