Sharing is caring? : A qualitative study exploring how Swedish Generation X-ers relate to fake news on Facebook

Detta är en Kandidat-uppsats från Jönköping University/JTH, Avdelningen för datateknik och informatik

Sammanfattning: Background: It is evident that fake news has become more common since the world transitioned into a more digital age. Previous research on the topic of fake news has usually been done on different generations and often by comparing them to one another in order to highlight differences between age groups. However, there are no studies to be found on Generation X alone in Sweden.  Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine Swedish Generation X-ers and their relation to news posts found on Facebook, in order to find out how they interact with it and what they would do to make sure a news post is valid before sharing it with their network of contacts. With a focus on exploring their experiences and finding patterns among the different answers we collected, the goal with this thesis was to present an overview of how Swedish Generation X-ers relate to news posts on Facebook.  Method: The research conducted in this paper was done by a set of semi-structured interviews. The transcriptions and data were analyzed by using a thematic approach, which allowed us to find themes and codes in the material, and in turn to be able to draw conclusions.  Findings: The results showed that Swedish Generation X-ers generally tend to avoid interacting with news posts on Facebook. This is because they worry about accidentally sharing fake news, think news is too private to share with others, and do not like the presence that comes with presenting themselves online. However, if they were to share a news post, even hypothetically, the majority of our participants would take measures to ensure validity beforehand. This thesis can be used as a groundwork for similar studies in other countries to get a comparative view. Further research: Suggestions for further research include doing the same kind of research in a new and bigger context, in order to see if the results from this thesis are recurring throughout the population at large. Another suggestion would be to combine a larger qualitative study with an additional quantitative approach, in order to present a more mathematical overview. Lastly, further research could be done to see if Generation X-ers are as private with their political views in real life as they are on Facebook. This in order to see if the behavior is something they have brought from their disconnected life to Facebook, or if it is just an online behavior.

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