A remedy for the spread of false news?

Christine Daniloff, MIT

By Peter Dizikes 

Stopping the spread of political misinformation on social media may seem like an impossible task. But a new study co-authored by MIT scholars finds that most people who share false news stories online do so unintentionally, and that their sharing habits can be modified through reminders about accuracy.

When such reminders are displayed, it can increase the gap between the percentage of true news stories and false news stories that people share online, as shown in online experiments that the researchers developed.

“Getting people to think about accuracy makes them more discerning in their sharing, regardless of ideology,” says MIT professor David Rand, co-author of a newly published paper detailing the results. “And it translates into a scalable and easily implementable intervention for social media platforms.”

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