Social media sharing of low-quality news sources by political elites

Jana Lasser, Segun Taofeek Aroyehun, Almog Simchon, Fabio Carrella, David Garcia, Stephan Lewandowsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Increased sharing of untrustworthy information on social media platforms is one of the main challenges of our modern information society. Because information disseminated by political elites is knownto shape citizen andmedia discourse, it is particularly important to examine the quality of information shared by politicians. Here, we show that from 2016 onward,members of the Republican Party in the US Congress have been increasingly sharing links to untrustworthy sources. The proportion of untrustworthy information posted by Republicans versus Democrats is diverging at an accelerating rate, and this divergence has worsened since President Biden was elected. This divergence between parties seems to be unique to the United States as it cannot be observed in other western democracies such as Germany and the United Kingdom, where left right disparities are smaller and have remained largely constant.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberpgac186
JournalPNAS Nexus
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • elites
  • misinformation
  • political discourse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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