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US Republican politicians increasingly spread news on social media from untrustworthy sources

New research shows US Republican politicians increasingly spread news on social media from untrustworthy sourceshttps://phys.org/news/2022-09-republican-politicians-increasingly-news-social.html

A study analyzing millions of tweets has revealed that Republican members of the U.S. Congress are increasingly circulating news from dubious sources, compared to their European counterparts.

The research, published in PNAS Nexus and led by the Graz University of Technology (TU Graz) in Austria and the University of Bristol in the UK, showed Republican Congress members are sharing more links to websites classified as "untrustworthy."

It is widely acknowledged that what politicians share on social media helps shape public perceptions and views. The findings are especially pertinent, with the U.S. midterm elections coming up in November and much of the campaigning taking place on social media platforms.

The findings showed that members of the Republican Party in particular shared significantly more links to websites classified as "untrustworthy" over the years. Compared to the period 2016 to 2018, the number of links to untrustworthy websites has doubled over the past two years.

Dr. Lasser said, "In general, members of parties in the right half of the political spectrum in all countries studied share more of these linksóbut only Republicans show this significant increase. In the other countries, the share remains stable."

Specifically, the percentage of links to untrustworthy websites posted by Republicans more than doubled between 2016 to 2018 and 2020 to 2022, from 2.4% to 5.5%.

Overall, Republican members of Congress post about nine times as many such links as Democratic members of Congress, for whom only 0.4% of the links contained in tweets point to untrustworthy sites.
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