Navigating the maze: Deepfakes, cognitive ability, and social media news skepticism


The early apprehensions about how deepfakes (also deep fakes) could be weaponized for social and political purposes are now coming to pass. This study is one of the first to examine the social impact of deepfakes. Using an online survey sample in the United States, this study investigates the relationship between citizen concerns regarding deepfakes, exposure to deepfakes, inadvertent sharing of deepfakes, the cognitive ability of individuals, and social media news skepticism. Results suggest that deepfakes exposure and concerns are positively related to social media news skepticism. In contrast, those who frequently rely on social media as a news platform are less skeptical. Higher cognitive abled individuals are more skeptical of news on social media. The moderation findings suggest that among those who are more concerned about deepfakes, inadvertently sharing a deepfake is associated with heightened skepticism. However, these patterns are more pronounced among low than high cognitive individuals.

In New Media & Society
Saifuddin Ahmed
Saifuddin Ahmed
Assistant Professor of Computer-mediated Communication

Saifuddin Ahmed is an assistant professor at Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.