Truth-checking is an efficient device to fight misinformation, research reveals

Truth-checking reduces perception in misinformation and leaves a extra enduring psychological imprint than false claims, in line with a brand new research printed right this moment within the Proceedings of the Nationwide Academy of Sciences. The research reveals fact-checking is an efficient device to fight misinformation throughout international locations, cultures, and political environments.

Whereas earlier analysis has proven that factual corrections cut back false beliefs, even on politically charged matters, we have had valuable little proof about how truth checks work globally. This research makes clear that truth checks can cut back false beliefs towards misinformation world wide, and that the reductions persist for a while.”

Ethan Porter, Assistant Professor of Media and Public Affairs, George Washington College

Porter, who can be affiliated with GW’s Institute for Knowledge, Democracy and Politics, and Thomas Wooden, a political science professor on the Ohio State College, examined 22 truth checks performed concurrently in Argentina, Nigeria, South Africa, and the UK in September and October 2020.

The analysis workforce partnered with fact-checking organizations working within the international locations the place the experiments passed off, with contributors randomly assigned to see truth checks after which queried about their factual beliefs. The researchers investigated a broad array of matters, together with COVID-19, native politics, crime and the economic system. In line with the research, truth checks considerably lowered perception within the false claims, whereas publicity to misinformation solely minimally elevated perception within the falsehoods.

Survey contributors who have been offered with truth checks typically retained factual info for a while. Contributors have been nonetheless affected by the information initially offered to them roughly two weeks after collaborating within the preliminary experiment. Truth-checking usually elevated correct beliefs no matter political affiliation, a development that held agency even when the misinformation subject was politically salient. For instance, truth checks in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic and local weather change elevated accuracy in all international locations.

“All through the pandemic we noticed dangerous info put lives in danger,” Will Moy, chief govt of Full Truth, stated. “This research reveals the distinction fact-checkers could make. Because of their work world wide, extra individuals are in a position to recognise false claims and make knowledgeable choices about their very own well being and communities.”

Whereas the deliberate unfold of false info is a world downside, most research measuring the effectiveness of fact-checking concentrate on single-country experiments performed in North America, Europe, or Australia. By finishing up simultaneous experiments in 4 international locations situated in three continents, this research demonstrates that fact-checking can be a potent device towards misinformation in international locations with totally different political points, financial conditions, and ethnic compositions.

The analysis workforce partnered with fact-checking organizations working within the international locations the place the experiments passed off, corresponding to Full Truth (United Kingdom), Africa Test (Nigeria and South Africa), and Chequeando (Argentina). Fieldwork and information assortment have been dealt with by Ipsos MORI and YouGov. The research was initiated by Full Truth with funding from the worldwide philanthropic group Luminate and the GW Institute for Knowledge, Democracy and Politics.


George Washington College

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