Almost 60% of Readers Share Links without Reading Them, Study Claims

Are you guilty of not actually reading the links you share on social media? If your answer is no, you’re definitely not alone as majority of links shared on social networks are not actually read based on the results of a study conducted by researchers from Columbia University and the French National Institute.

The recent study has found that 59% of the links shared on social media are shared without actually being read, reports The Washington Post.


The research, which was conducted after the satirical website Science Post published an article titled “Study: 70% of Facebook users only read the headline of science stories before commenting”, was shared 46,000 times. Apparently, the body of the article only contained the words “lorem ipsum”.

In order to arrive at their conclusion, the researchers tracked the shares and clicks of five major news sources for a whole month. Their findings showed that more users shared the news than actually clicking it by a wide margin.

“People are more willing to share an article than read it,” said Arnaud Legout, one of the study’s co-author.

Saying that the phenomenon is typical of modern information consumption, Legout said there is poor correlation between sharing content and actually reading it.

“People form an opinion based on a summary, or summary of summaries, without making the effort to go deeper,” he added.

An interesting fact revealed by the study is that people on social media are willing to share content “just for the sake of sharing”. This means that just because someone likes or shares a content on social media, it does not necessarily indicate an actual engagement with the content.

What Makes a Content Shareable on Social Media?

People have different reasons and motivations for sharing a certain type of content on social media. However, revealed that there are specific triggers of the human psyche that drives a person to share a content.

Here are some of them.

  1. Content which is socially validated
  2. Content that elicits emotions such as delight, excitement, astonishment, awe, anger, frustration or anxiety
  3. Content with practical value
  4. Content that will help people define themselves
  5. Content that helps people engage with others