SEOUL, Sept. 7 (Korea Bizwire) — A new study has found that 1 out of 4 adults changed their views after reading online comments posted below Internet news articles.
Yonsei University’s Barun ICT Research announced the results of a study that focused on the effectiveness of fabricated online comments at the New Millennium Hall at Yonsei University today during a conference on Information and Communications Technology.
Barun Research surveyed approximately 900 adults in their 20s to 50s for the study, with the help of Hankook Research.
The study was carried out by exposing Internet users (survey respondents) to falsified online comments posted purposely below legitimate news articles covering various social issues and posted on the popular portal website Naver.
According to the results of the survey, 1 out of 4 users changed their opinions after reading the news and comments below.
Most of the users changed their views to align with the top comments as well as the overall consensus.
Those who changed their views were found to be less likely to read the news on a regular basis, and were more affected by the online comments posted by the public.
In addition, 64 percent of respondents who, when surveyed prior, said they had no opinion regarding a particular news topic, later committed to the general consensus of the online comments which was either for or against the nature of the news article.
However, researchers found that the influence of online comments diminished over time. Immediately after reading online comments, users who read comments that shed a favorable light on the discourse of the news article leaned more towards agreeing with the content compared to those who read comments expressing opposing views.
But 20 minutes afterwards, the difference between the two groups had decreased.
Meanwhile, individual opinions became more polarized as time went by. Barun ICT Research stated that fabricated comments lose influence over time.
“False comments only strengthen the original opinions that individuals had from the start,” researchers noted.
Respondents did not appear to be concerned with the number of “likes” online comments had garnered.
The survey also found that those in their 20s to 40s were likelier to actively read online comments, but the comments themselves were more likely to be written by those in their 50s and above.
H. S. Seo (firstname.lastname@example.org)