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Study: Fake news shared more during November election than professional news

Study: Fake news shared more during November election than professional news.

LANSING, Mich. (SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP) - Former FBI Agent Clint Watts is telling Congress that Russia may have used armies of Twitter bots to spread fake news in Michigan.

The counter-terrorism expert's take on potential Russian influence in the November election comes after a new study revealed Michigan's Twitter feeds were flooded with fake news in the run up to the 2016 Presidential election.

Political Reporter Nick Minock reports with more from Lansing.

According to a new study from Oxford University, during the November election in Michigan, “Junk news" was shared more on Twitter than professional news reports.

When President Donald Trump sat down with Minock in Ypsilanti he said, “So much of the news is false."

He said much of the press publishes lies.

Trump said, "I think one of the differences it the dishonest media. You know, I deal with the fake press and some of it is wonderful and they are wonderful people, but much of it is fake.”

A new report from Oxford reveals Trump may have gained the most by fake news during the election in Michigan.

After reviewing more than 138 thousand political tweets in Michigan, Oxford researchers say 46.5 percent of all content presented as political news wasn't from professional news sources.

The study reveals more junk news tweets were linked to pro-Trump posts than pro-Clinton posts.

John Truscott said, “I think it's unfortunate to the new business because there is a lot of legitimate news out there that people could spend time reading."

To talk about the findings of the Oxford study, Minock sat down with two Michigan political and public relations experts, John Truscott, a Republican, and Kelly Rossman-McKinney, a Democrat.

They agree double checking the source of your information is important in the new age of social media.

Truscott said, “I always look at what is the source. Is it something I know can trust or not."

Rossman-McKinney said, “What the study overlooks is why people were retweeting."

They don't agree on everything when it comes to politics, but they do agree the spread of fake news on social media probably wasn't enough to alter the election results in Michigan.

Rossman-McKinney said, “I don't think so. I think it had everything to do with the candidates and their game on the field."

Truscott said, “I agree with that 100 percent. Elections really do come down to how local people are feeling. With the fake news, the junk news, things like that, people are reading what confirms their opinions already, it's not going to sway people one way or another."

If you want to read the Oxford study for yourself at http://politicalbots.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/What-Were-Michigan-Voters-Sharing-Over-Twitter-v2.pdf

In the meantime, one high ranking Democrat on Capitol Hill is trying to find out if Russia may have used internet trolls to spread propaganda on social media.

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