2022-08-28 Michael Bang Petersen - to stop misinfo in a crisis

Michael Bang Petersen (@M_B_Petersen): 🚨NEW PREPRINT🚨

During the pandemic, Danish authorities shared videos to stop "fake news"

@jrpsau, @LasseLindekilde & I document their effectiveness: https://psyarxiv.com/8wdfp/

To stop misinfo in a crisis, it is key to prioritize actionable advice, not just small nudges.

🧵 1/7 https://twitter.com/M_B_Petersen/status/1563878786881523714/photo/1

The Danish Health Authority crafted two videos -- 15 sec & 3 min -- focused on actionable advice on how to spot "fake news": https://www.sst.dk/da/Udgivelser/2020/Kan-du-stole-paa-det-du-laeser-Film-om-misinformation

This is in line with classical work in risk-communication: Tell people what to do & why this removes the risk. 2/7

A current standard for reducing misinfo is "accuracy nudges": https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0956797620939054

These nudges are quick reminders about the existence of misinfo but do not provide further advice on how to deal with it. 3/7

Study 1 exposed participants to either the short video, the long video or a nudge - and then asked for motivations to share headlines that varied in veracity

Compare to a control group, only the longer, more thorough intervention reduced self-reported sharing of false info. 4/7 https://twitter.com/M_B_Petersen/status/1563878794800291840/photo/1

Consistent with classical work in risk-communication (https://doi.org/10.1016/0022-1031(83)90023-9), Study 2 showed that the effective intervention increased feelings of self-efficacy (i.e., the sense of being competent in dealing with the risk). 5/7 https://twitter.com/M_B_Petersen/status/1563878800424931328/photo/1

Study 2 also showed that sharing discernment (= sharing of true rather than false info) is not simply related to awareness of the threat of misinfo. It is also related to self-efficacy and response efficacy (i.e., the sense that ones action will decrease risk). 6/7 https://twitter.com/M_B_Petersen/status/1563878806531842049/photo/1

Overall, these findings suggest that the spread of false info doesn't just reflect inattention to the threat but that people lack skills. Scalable effective interventions in crisis situations (e.g., a pandemic) thus need to provide citizens with actionable advice. 7/7

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