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Evaluating Misinformation Research and Tools

CNN Fake News Game:

Immediately this article will catch readers’ attention as they cleverly tie in the topic of misinformation with vaccines and the pandemic, which immediately caught my attention. The idea of the game was also extremely clever and honestly put a smile on my face as there’s a bit of reverse psychology going on within it. Jon Roozenbeek and Sander van der Linden, the game’s creators, give players the ability to create fake news headlines, memes, and other forms of media in exchange for social media followers. This is of course very much like what occurs in real life with these non-reliable pages that somehow gain and fool hundreds of thousands of people into following them. The goal of the game is that as users get better at creating fake news themselves, they’d be much more versed in spotting and avoiding it. The best part about this game is that they’re actually seeing results. With data comprised of over 15,000 players, they have found that people are better at spotting and not being fooled by fake news as often if at all. They are also taking more important steps such as creating a WhatsApp friendly version of the game in order to impact countries that are most affected by misinformation such as India. It’d be great to see them continue on with other plans to make a version catered towards the elderly and create it in more languages than they already have and continue to “vaccinate” people against the fake news pandemic.

After playing the game myself, I can definitely understand how it helps people identify suspicious media. It was an interesting game because there were clearly ridiculous options and there were some that were more subtle and believable which actually proved to be much more effective in gaining followers. The game forces you to interact with your followers and engage with naysayers online in order to save your account and its credibility. I also really enjoyed how the game forces you to challenge your morals and as I was playing, I thought to myself multiple times how I could never actually do this seriously. Overall, I think it’s a great idea and a very unique take on fixing this issue.

Business Standard:

The main idea of this article was super interesting to me as it somewhat contradicts. It states that those who trust their intuition more often are more susceptible to believing misinformation. This is an interesting idea to think about as it is almost saying that you are more likely to be wrong the more you trust yourself. However, this is hard to argue considering the fact that those who believe in direct, concrete evidence obviously hardly fall for fake news. The only flaw that I feel could be argued was their data size as there was a pretty vague gap of the sample size ranging from 500-1,000 participants. I also feel like this article’s interpretation and how it is consumed directly depends on which side of the spectrum you fall on. Do you trust your gut more, or facts more? I am firmly on the side of trusting blatant evidence that shows a definite answer and it almost surprises me that there are people who will look evidence in the face and just call it wrong in favor of their own thoughts. I’m all for intuition in the right situation such as maybe taking a risk in life or maybe making an important decision. However, nationwide/global topics are pretty clear to me. There’s been literal evidence for centuries that vaccines work, so I don’t really agree with someone’s “gut” telling them it won’t. Another interesting find was that those who believe everything they hear is politically motivated, were also more likely to fall for misinformation. This makes complete sense to me as anyone could find thousands of examples of this on Twitter as I type this. Facts are not politically biased, they just are plain, simple, facts. The last idea that was brought up in this study was that those who are more intuition based and feel everything has more of a bias/agenda behind it were more likely to fall for conspiracy theories. Now I will say I think more people than not have fallen victim to a conspiracy or two, some line up almost too good not to believe in a little bit. However, once again there seems to be a clear split theme. People who trust their own feelings over research are just more likely to fall for misinformation, false news, conspiracy theories, and all other forms of manipulative media.

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