Study Finds That 69% of Facebook Users Don’t Understand Satire
MONMOUTH, NJ — In a recent poll conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute, researchers found that 69% of Facebook users are “disastrously incapable” of discerning satirical headlines from legitimate news articles.
“Yes, these findings are extremely troubling,” said John Lennon, a professor of journalistic integrity at Harvard University. “But it does seem to confirm what every Facebook user already thinks: ‘everyone on this website is stupid and humorless except for me — a smart and hilarious person.’”
The study asked participants to rate how believable individual headlines seemed. Then, researchers would contextualize each headline by including the name of the publication and a quote from the corresponding article.
“For example,” explained Albert Einstein, who led the study, “we would show participants the headline ‘9 Out of 10 Children Are Born Without Feet’ and ask them if that headline sounded plausible or implausible. Then, we’d inform them that Very Real News for Very Real Views was the source, and ask them to re-evaluate the headline’s plausibility. Finally, they would read, ‘Contrary to public opinion, feet are not included in the price of newborn admission to society; most hospitals charge an additional fee.’ Study participants would rate the story’s plausibility one final time. We found the results enormously disappointing, although not particularly surprising.”
According to King Tut, an expert in the field of public polling and data collection, “the methodology on this study is questionable.” But that assertion was countered by Deez Nuts, a self-proclaimed expert “in the exact field as that first expert,” who reported that “actually, every other expert in the entire world agrees that the methodology is sound. That’s 420% of experts! So it’s def legit.”
With the rise of fake news, Facebook users’ inability to distinguish between fake and real news articles “doesn’t bode well for the upcoming election,” Professor Lennon concluded. “But one thing is certain: all 666% of social media users agreed that ‘your ass is grass, and [they’re] gonna mow it.’ So at least we have that going for us.”