The viral content problem: Many people don’t care whether it’s true

Gigaom

Craig Silverman, the author of a book about journalism and fact-checking called Regret The Error and a column by the same name at the Poynter Institute, has come out with a major report on the problem of online hoaxes and misinformation, a study he did for the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University. It is an impressive survey of how the desire for pageviews and online “engagement” compels many online media outlets to distribute fake news.

In the pre-amble to his report, Craig (who I should note is a friend) points out that while we usually expect news organizations to disseminate “quality, accurate information” about the world around us, many media companies — and not just digital upstarts but traditional ones — persist in distributing questionable information, even when they suspect it is false:

[blockquote person=”” attribution=””]”News websites dedicate far more time and resources to propagating questionable and…

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