Fake News

For the past several months, at least one of my friends have shared a post, Women Should Go Out With Friends Twice A Week For Better Health, posted by creativehealthyfamily.com (n.d.) on their Facebook.  The article claims that according to a new study, women should go out with girlfriends twice a week to be healthier (creativehealthyfamily.com, n.d.). It further claims that “drinking beer, gossiping, and talking about their rivals (preferred topic). Doing these “things” make women socialize, drink and laugh together” (creativehealthyfamily.com, n.d.). At first, I got excited for a second, how wonderful it is to now have empirical research to backup my excuse to go out with my girlfriends. Quickly, though, I started to question the research. How did the study operationally define “healthier”? How did the study end up with twice a week, but no once or thrice for example? Dr. Robin Dunbar, who was hired to run this study, explains to The Huffington Post that “[t]he figure of twice a week comes from our findings that this is the amount of time that you typically spend with your closest friends/family” (as cited in creativehealthyfamily.com, n.d.). How did he find that findings? And with all these questions my excitement faded and the researcher-in-training in me got the best of me and I fact checked. According to editor in chief Alan Duke (2019) for Hoaxalert.com, the study was actually a social experiment conducted by Robin Dunbar, an Oxford psychology professor, who was hired by the Guinness Beer company. The social experiment involvement five men (note no women) to measure men’s happiness “doing things” with the men (Dunbar, 2019). The purpose of the social experiment was meant for the Guinness Beer company to use as a television campaign to promote men going out and drinking beer with friends (Dunbar, 2019). I’m echoing our lesson commentary that it’s not to say that the researcher, in this case Dunbar, intentionally mislead the public, but there are many aspects that could have led him in this particular direction (PSU WC, 2019, L.13). Thus, it’s important to fact check, check for the credits page, check to see who sponsored it and what was their interest, and check researchers’ affiliation (PSU WC, 2019, L.13). The fake news could end with you, if you fact check before sharing. 




Duke, A. (2019, July 1). Fake News: Women Do NOT Need To Go Out With Friends Twice A Week To Stay Healthy: Lead Stories. Retrieved November 21, 2019, from https://hoax-alert.leadstories.com/3470628-fake-news-women-do-not-need-to-go-out-with-friends-twice-a-week-to-stay-healthy.html?fbclid=IwAR1S9BYjvQrZlCt5WaHVYhGXpp5XVu1M5Gf-dMNBL1UNpONC9aVhtHEq_hw.

Pennsylvania State University World Campus (2019). PSYCH 424 :
Applied Social Psychology, Lesson 13: Social Change/Participatory Research. Retrieved on November 19, 2019 from: https://psu.instructure.com/courses/2008549/modules/items/27030759

Women Should Go Out With Girlfriends Twice A Week To Improve Their Health. (n.d.). Retrieved November 21, 2019, from https://www.creativehealthyfamily.com/women-should-go-out-with-girlfriends-twice-a-week-to-improve-their-health/.

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  1. Hey Author,

    I love that you took so much time into digging deeper into this supposed “research article”. To me, when I see titles like this on social media pages, I can’t help but immediately think that they are simply click bait articles. Unless I see a credible source, I never spend the time to read those articles because if it’s on a social media website then it was probably placed there to influence people to do or purchase something. It’s frightening enough that after looking up “weighted blankets” on my google browser that I instantly see ads and deals for those same blankets. This article also reminds me of a documentary that I recently saw on Netflix. This documentary talked about a certain underground treasure that was about to be found by a special exploratory crew. The documentary provided insightful information and stunning visuals of the treasures that the divers were able to find and at the very end of the documentary, I saw the silhouette of a mickey mouse doll amongst those underwater treasures. I instantly understood that this documentary was actually a hoax and it was meant to be a hoax! This immediately showed me the value of not believing what you see until you know for certain that the information you receive is true. The documentary was called “Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable” and I highly recommend watching it.

  2. This is becoming an increasing issue. A family member never checks before sharing, and it creates these constant circle of misinformation and “fake news” taken as fact from those on her Facebook page. What are some detailed ways you think that could be effective in creating a solution to this fake news issue?

  3. This seems to be an ever-growing problem linked to social media in particular. I was speaking to a casual friend recently who was recouting some information that he “read in the news” about the climate change debate. I found the accuracy of information suspect and questioned him from which “news” source he received this information. His response “I saw the article on Facebook.” I asked him if the article was from a reputabe source and he had no clue from where the Facebook-posted article was taken. In line with what you mentioned in your post, in this day and age, it is not only important to verify and qualify sources of information, but also be careful not to spread potentially inaccurate or misleading information that is being written simply to further a person’s or organization’s particular agenda. I echo your thought “Check before sharing!”

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