Political Knowledge and Misinformation in the Era of Social Media: Evidence from the 2015 UK Election

Kevin Munger, Patrick J. Egan, Jonathan Nagler, Jonathan Ronen, Joshua Tucker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Does social media educate voters, or mislead them? This study measures changes in political knowledge among a panel of voters surveyed during the 2015 UK general election campaign while monitoring the political information to which they were exposed on the Twitter social media platform. The study's panel design permits identification of the effect of information exposure on changes in political knowledge. Twitter use led to higher levels of knowledge about politics and public affairs, as information from news media improved knowledge of politically relevant facts, and messages sent by political parties increased knowledge of party platforms. But in a troubling demonstration of campaigns' ability to manipulate knowledge, messages from the parties also shifted voters' assessments of the economy and immigration in directions favorable to the parties' platforms, leaving some voters with beliefs further from the truth at the end of the campaign than they were at its beginning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalBritish Journal of Political Science
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Political Knowledge and Misinformation in the Era of Social Media: Evidence from the 2015 UK Election'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this