Embargo Period


Degree Name

MA in Conflict Transformation

First Advisor

Tatsushi Arai


This research aims to unveil a connection between fake news distribution, readership demand, and social media networks, in this case, Facebook. In this research, fake news is defined as “content that is deliberately false and published on websites that mimic traditional news websites (Johnson and Kelling 2017, p3)”. It is argued that fake news content is not produced at random, but is tailored to particular political demographics and narratives. Exposure to such media not only validates ideological positions, it polarizes political beliefs. Furthermore, Facebook not only acts as an effective distribution medium, but allows individual users to skip structural filters in information sharing, thus creating a more nebulous and less rigid relationship between structures and actors in society.

The methodology is multi-disciplinary and includes the creation of two political narratives, which are then utilized in a content analysis with four fake news articles. Facebook comment sections underneath these articles are also studied to assess a positive or negative impact on readers' political beliefs. Finally, user beliefs about fake news and Facebook are assessed via a twenty-two question questionnaire. Distributed via Facebook, this questionnaire measures user opinion about the commonality of fake news, levels of media trust & fake news impact, and structural links between narrative, news, and Facebook as a platform.

Key Words: Facebook, Fake News, Social Media, Structuration Theory, Political Polarization, Political Narrative


American Politics | Communication Technology and New Media | Peace and Conflict Studies | Politics and Social Change | Social Influence and Political Communication | Social Media