Leiden University: 'Millions of Dutch people have shared' pulp news'

Nearly 5.3 million people have ever liked, shared or responded to Dutch 'pulp news' on Facebook, according to a study by Leiden University that was published on Thursday.


Nearly 5.3 million people have ever liked, shared or responded to Dutch 'pulp news' on Facebook, according to a study by Leiden University that was published on Thursday.

With the term 'pulp news', the researchers aim at commercially driven messages that are similar to news items. According to the researchers, the term fake news is too politically charged.

The 'pulp news' is produced by unknown media brands, such as Trend News and Viral Today. The messages can be recognized by a sensational content and 'clickbait' headlines: exaggerated headlines intended to make people click through.

The managers of Facebook pages place 'pulp news' and hope that users will achieve the greatest possible reach with comments, likes and message sharing. They hope that internet users will eventually click through to their own website. There are advertisements on which they earn money.

The researchers investigated the reach of 63 'pulp news pages' on Facebook between 2013 and 2017. They compared this with the online reach of twenty traditional media, including NU.nl, NOS , RTL News , Algemeen Dagblad , NRC , GeenStijl , The Post Online , De Telegraaf , Trouw and de Volkskrant .

Recent growth in posts with 'pulp news'

Over the years, the more than sixty 'pulp news pages' posted more and more messages on Facebook, according to the researchers. In 2013 and 2014, the share of messages with 'pulp news' on Facebook was virtually nil.

In the run-up to 2017, the number of messages grew to two thousand per month. From the end of 2017, the number of messages will take a big leap. In a short time the number of two thousand to three thousand monthly messages rose to more than six thousand.

The number of messages from traditional media remained reasonably the same over the years, the researchers conclude. It is about 970 messages per month.

The sensational messages have a lot more impact on Facebook and a greater reach than messages from traditional media. 'Pulp news' receives an average of 429 likes, compared with 363 for messages from traditional media.

Regarding the number of times people share the message or respond to it, 'pulp news' scores twice as well. Such a message receives an average of 165 responses, while real news yields 80 responses. 'Pulp news' is shared on average 158 times and news media news on average 73 times.

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REF: https://www.nu.nl/internet/5701454/universiteit-leiden-miljoenen-nederlanders-hebben-pulpnieuws-gedeeld.html

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