SINGAPORE: A recent study by researchers from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has shed light on the relationship between social media burnout and the propensity to believe and share false information online.

The findings, based on a survey of over 8,000 individuals across eight countries, including Singapore, the United States, Malaysia, and China, highlight the need for a multifaceted approach to combat misinformation in the digital age.

In an era where social media platforms serve as the primary source of information for millions worldwide, understanding the impact of prolonged exposure and excessive use has become paramount. The NTU study, led by a team of dedicated researchers, sought to explore the correlation between social media burnout, cognitive judgment, and the dissemination of false information.

Social media burnout is characterized by emotional exhaustion and fatigue from prolonged engagement with various platforms. The study’s participants who reported experiencing such burnout were found to be more susceptible to believing and sharing false information. This is because when individuals are overwhelmed by the constant influx of information on social media, their cognitive judgment becomes impaired, making it difficult to critically assess the authenticity of the content they encounter.

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The study also uncovered a troubling connection between narcissistic tendencies and the spreading of false information. Individuals with narcissistic traits were more likely to engage in sharing misleading content. This suggests that the desire for attention and validation on social media may incentivize individuals to share sensational or false information without considering its accuracy.

The implications of this research possibly extend far beyond academia, with potential ramifications for policymakers and social media companies. The study’s authors argue that a comprehensive multi-prong strategy is needed to effectively combat the spread of false information and that policymakers must consider intervention measures to reduce the spread of false information by studying how people experience social media burnout.