You'll Probably Share This Story Without Even Reading It

Study finds 3 out of 5 people share stories on Twitter without ever clicking on them
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2016 5:00 PM CDT
You'll Probably Share This Story Without Even Reading It

Three out of five people sharing this story on social media will do so without actually reading it. That's just science. A study published this month looked at more than 59,000 articles from the BBC, Huffington Post, New York Times, Fox News, and CNN shared on Twitter. It found 59% of the links shared on Twitter were never actually clicked, meaning people are passing along articles without reading them first, the Washington Post reports. Or as the authors of the study put it in a press release: Sharing an article and reading an article are "poorly correlated." “People are more willing to share an article than read it,” study co-author Arnaud Legout says. “This is typical of modern information consumption. People form an opinion based on a summary, or a summary of summaries, without making the effort to go deeper.”

The Post thinks that one finding “explains so much of the oft-demoralizing cesspool that is internet culture.” But there's more. The study found that while far more Twitter users saw the links posted by the news organizations, the links posted by regular Twitter users were far more likely to be clicked, the Business Standard reports. The links tweeted by regular Twitter users accounted for 61% of all clicks. But that varied by news outlet, with 85% of clicks to BBC stories coming through links shared by others while only 10% of Fox News clicks came from Twitter accounts other than Fox. Researchers also reported the lifespan of stories shared on Twitter was longer than expected, with 18% of clicks coming in the second week of a story's existence. (Here's how Instagram posts can doom the super rich.)

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