At last, a fake news vaccine
The Bad News online game in which people operate as providers of fake news increases psychological resistance to fake news, according to a study of 15,000 participants by the University of Cambridge.
Players manipulate news and social media using twitter bots and photoshopped images, as well as by inciting conspiracy theories to attract followers while feeding a ‘credibility score’ rating user persuasiveness.
The study shows that the perceived reliability of fake news before playing the game fell by an average 21% on completion. However, the game made no difference to ranking of fact-based news.
"We are shifting the target from ideas to tactics,” say Jon Roozenbeek, study co-author. “We are hoping to create what you might call a general 'vaccine' against fake news, rather than trying to counter each specific conspiracy or falsehood."
Bad News was created by DROG, a team of academics, journalists and media experts looking to create innovative tools to help build resistance to disinformation.
“By letting you experience how fake news works we increase your resistance to it,” DROG says.