How credibility indicators could combat the flow of misinformation on social media

The implementation of credibility indicators near headlines of news stories on social networking sites may considerably reduce the flow of misinformation, according to a new study by researchers at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering.

In the new study, an estimated 1,500 US-based participants were enrolled and fed 12 of either accurate, non-accurate, or satirical news headlines.

Four separate groups of indicators were used to measure the effectiveness of their objective: fact-checkers (journalists disputing accuracy), news media (mainstream news outlets disputing accuracy), public (a majority population of Americans disputing accuracy), and AI (machine learning disputing accuracy).

Among the headlines shown to the participants, only the headlines containing disinformation or satirical content showcased a credibility indicator. Of those headlines, the participants were instructed to assess if they would share on their news feed of social networking sites.

During the examination of responses, the findings showed that political ideology was directly tied to their input of the headlines shown to them, with Democrat supporters having the most impact.

The study also noted that fact-checkers were regarded as the most effective of all of the credibility indicators. The indicator resulted in a 43% lower chance of sharing false headlines compared to the other groups of indicators

“The most effective of the credibility indicators, by far, was Fact Checkers: Study respondents intended to share 43% fewer non-true headlines with this indicator versus 25%, 22%, and 22% for the “News Media,” “Public,” and “AI” indicators, respectively,” an NYU news release states.

While Democrats were most impacted by the credibility indicators, Republicans were less likely to be influenced by them, however. Republicans were also more inclined to share headlines deemed questionable or inaccurate using the AI indicator.

Out of both gender types, males were more likely than females to share inaccurate headlines, researchers determined.

“Men are less likely to be influenced by credibility indicators, more inclined to share fake news on social media. But indicators, especially those from fact-checkers, reduce intention to share fake news across the board.”

Image courtesy of REUTERS
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