The Spread of Fake News in Turkey: Predictors of Fake News Questioning and Sharing

Bayrak F., Çoksan S., Akarsu A. S., Sezer B., Sayılan G.

Annual Scientific Meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology, 14 - 16 July 2020

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Unpublished
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


The phenomena that have emerged with a dramatic increase in the speed of technological

development have affected many aspects of social and political life. One of these facts is the

extraordinary growth in the amount and access to information. However, this information

may not always reflect reality in life. With the development of technology, especially in

social media, it has become easier to spread fake information. In the literature, fake news has

been mostly studied in the media field. However, it is crucial to address the spread of fake

news with a social psychological point of view. Therefore, in this study, we aimed to examine

the relation between fake news and social-psychological variables. We archived real social

media (facebook and twitter) posts and measured various psychological characteristics of

participants during the 31 March 2019 local elections of Turkey. Additionally, we developed

the Fake News Questioning Scale to measure the tendency of questioning whether news on

social media is fake or not and examine its relations with thinking styles, party affiliations,

identification with ethnicity, social dominance orientation, right-wing authoritarianism,

conspiracy beliefs, and intergroup threat. As a result, we found that intuitive and analytical

thinking styles predict the questioning of news, but social dominance orientation, right-wing

authoritarianism and conspiracy beliefs did not. We discussed the motivations behind the

tendency to questioning and sharing fake news from a social psychological perspective.