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Study: Babylon Bee’s Satire Gets Shared by People Who Think It’s Real

The truth is, parsing political parody on the internet isn’t straightforward.
Study: Babylon Bee’s Satire Gets Shared by People Who Think It’s Real
Image: The Babylon Bee

In July, the website Snopes published a piece fact-checking a story posted on The Babylon Bee, a popular satirical news site with a conservative bent.

Conservative columnist David French criticized Snopes for debunking what was, in his view, “obvious satire. Obvious.” A few days later, Fox News ran a segment featuring The Bee’s incredulous CEO.

But does everyone recognize satire as readily as French seems to?

Our team of communication researchers has spent years studying misinformation, satire, and social media. Over the last several months, we’ve surveyed Americans’ beliefs about dozens of high-profile political issues. We identified news stories—both true and false—that were being shared widely on social media.

We discovered that many of the false stories weren’t the kind that were trying to intentionally deceive their readers; they actually came from satirical sites, and many people seemed to believe them.

Fool me once

People have long mistaken ...

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