University of Strathclyde – written evidence (DAD0036)


Title of our Research:

An Experimental Exploration of Network Dynamics on Social Media: Accounting for Who Spots Fake News and Who Shares It

Research Team:

Dr. Narisong Huhe (Government and Public Policy, University of Strathclyde)

Dr. Mark Shephard (Government and Public Policy, University of Strathclyde)

Dr. Anthony Anderson (Psychology, University of Strathclyde)

Dr. David Robertson (Psychology, University of Strathclyde)

Contact: 0141 548 2213


Our research is of interest concerning the points below:


Democratic debate

8. To what extent does social media negatively shape public debate, either through encouraging polarisation or through abuse deterring individuals from engaging in public life?

9. To what extent do you think that there are those who are using social media to attempt to undermine trust in the democratic process and in democratic institutions; and what might be the best ways to combat this and strengthen faith in democracy?


10. What might be the best ways of reducing the effects of misinformation on social media platforms?


3. What role should every stage of education play in helping to create a healthy, active, digitally literate democracy?








Our research:

  1. We asked a cohort of 82 university politics students which news they would share on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Whatsapp. Our 72 news headlines (36 true and 36 fake) were taken from fact-checking sites and from government websites. After the sharing questions, we then asked them how true or fake the headlines were.


  1. Some examples of the headlines:


  1. We set ourselves a tough test (politics students and news stories that were fairly pedestrian).


  1. Results for news sharing:


  1.                                                                                                                    Results for error explaining (predictors of how wrong people were in their judgements about how true or fake a news headline was):


  1.                                                                                                                    Results for social networks (how do people who are connected to each other on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Whatsapp behave?):




  1.                                                                                                                    We are currently working on:


  1. Dr. Mark Shephard has produced a series of publications and Tedx talks on social media issues designed to assist with citizenship education: