How the Supply of Fake News Affected Consumer Behavior during the 2016 US Election

79 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2018 Last revised: 27 Oct 2018

See all articles by Anil R Doshi

Anil R Doshi

University College London - School of Management

Sharat Raghavan

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business

Rebecca Weiss

Mozilla Corp.

Eric Petitt

Mozilla Corp.

Date Written: October 18, 2018

Abstract

We characterize the effect of fake news on online browsing during the 2016 US presidential election. We estimate that weekday increases of 10 fake news articles — that were confirmed to be false by third-party services — increased the incidence of fake news site visits by 3.0%. To address endogeneity, we employ two approaches that attempt to isolate exogenous variation in fake news supply. We also estimate that weekday 10-article increases in fake news increase the odds of visiting one or more fake news sites by 3.7%. Overall, this evidence demonstrates the effectiveness of fake news production in reaching a diverse set of consumers.

Keywords: media economics, 2016 US election, fake news

JEL Classification: L82, P16

Suggested Citation

Doshi, Anil Rajnikant and Raghavan, Sharat and Weiss, Rebecca and Petitt, Eric, How the Supply of Fake News Affected Consumer Behavior during the 2016 US Election (October 18, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3093397 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3093397

Anil Rajnikant Doshi (Contact Author)

University College London - School of Management ( email )

Level 38
1 Canada Square
London, E14 5AA
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://mgmt.ucl.ac.uk/

Sharat Raghavan

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business ( email )

545 Student Services Building, #1900
2220 Piedmont Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Rebecca Weiss

Mozilla Corp. ( email )

Mountain View, CA
United States

Eric Petitt

Mozilla Corp. ( email )

Mountain View, CA
United States

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