brendan.nyhan   22

Real Solutions for Fake News? Measuring the Effectiveness of General Warnings and Fact-Check Tags in Reducing Belief in False Stories on Social Media | SpringerLink
Social media has increasingly enabled “fake news” to circulate widely, most notably during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. These intentionally false or misleading stories threaten the democratic goal of a well-informed electorate. This study evaluates the effectiveness of strategies that could be used by Facebook and other social media to counter false stories. Results from a pre-registered experiment indicate that false headlines are perceived as less accurate when people receive a general warning about misleading information on social media or when specific headlines are accompanied by a “Disputed” or “Rated false” tag. Though the magnitudes of these effects are relatively modest, they generally do not vary by whether headlines were congenial to respondents’ political views. In addition, we find that adding a “Rated false” tag to an article headline lowers its perceived accuracy more than adding a “Disputed” tag (Facebook’s original approach) relative to a control condition. Finally, though exposure to the “Disputed” or “Rated false” tags did not affect the perceived accuracy of unlabeled false or true headlines, exposure to a general warning decreased belief in the accuracy of true headlines, suggesting the need for further research into how to most effectively counter false news without distorting belief in true information.

--That Nyhan could get his seminar class to write a paper is applause worthy!
brendan.nyhan  misinformation  disinformation  intervention  political_psychology  networked_public_sphere  journalism 
february 2019 by rvenkat
Misinformation and Conspiracy Theories about Politics and Public Policy
Why do people hold false or unsupported beliefs about politics and public policy and why are so those beliefs so hard to change? This three-credit graduate course will explore the psychological factors that make people vulnerable to misinformation and conspiracy theories and the reasons that corrections so often fail to change their minds. We will also analyze how those tendencies are exploited by political elites and consider possible approaches that journalists, civic reformers, and government officials could employ to combat misperceptions. Students will develop substantive expertise in how to measure, diagnose, and respond to false beliefs about politics and public policy; methodological expertise in reading and analyzing quantitative and experimental research in social science; and analytical writing skills in preparing a final research paper applying one or more theories from the course to help explain the development and spread of a specific misperception or conspiracy theory.
brendan.nyhan  course  misinformation  disinformation  public_opinion  public_policy  conspiracy_theories  political_science  teaching  dmce  networks 
january 2019 by rvenkat
Social Media, Political Polarization, and Political Disinformation: A Review of the Scientific Literature
The Hewlett Foundation commissioned this report to provide an overview of the current state of the literature on the relationship between social media; political polarization; and political “disinformation,” a term used to encompass a wide range of types of information about politics found online, including “fake news,” rumors, deliberately factually incorrect information, inadvertently factually incorrect information, politically slanted information, and “hyperpartisan” news.

The review of the literature is provided in six separate sections, each of which can be read individually but that cumulatively are intended to provide an overview of what is known—and unknown—about the relationship between social media, political polarization, and disinformation.

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3144139
social_media  polarization  misinformation  disinformation  journalism  report  brendan.nyhan 
march 2018 by rvenkat
Selective Exposure to Misinformation: Evidence from the consumption of fake news during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign
Though some warnings about online “echo chambers” have been hyperbolic, tendencies toward selective exposure to politically congenial content are likely to extend to misinformation and to be exacerbated by social media platforms. We test this prediction using data on the factually dubious articles known as “fake news.” Using unique data combining survey responses with individual-level web traffic histories, we estimate that approximately 1 in 4 Americans visited a fake news website from October 7-November 14, 2016. Trump supporters visited the most fake news websites, which were overwhelmingly pro-Trump. However, fake news consumption was heavily concentrated among a small group — almost 6 in 10 visits to fake news websites came from the 10% of people with the most conservative online information diets. We also find that Facebook was a key vector of exposure to fake news and that fact-checks of fake news almost never reached its consumers
misinformation  disinformation  fact_checking  political_psychology  2016  us_elections  dmce  teaching  brendan.nyhan 
january 2018 by rvenkat
Connecting the Candidates: Consultant Networks and the Diffusion of Campaign Strategy in American Congressional Elections - Nyhan - 2014 - American Journal of Political Science - Wiley Online Library
Modern American political campaigns are typically conceptualized as “candidate-centered” and treated as conditionally independent in quantitative analyses. In reality, however, these campaigns are linked by professional consulting firms, which are important agents of campaign strategy diffusion within the extended party networks of the contemporary era. To test our hypothesis that consultants disseminate campaign strategies among their clients, we analyze new data on U.S. House elections derived from Federal Election Commission records. Using spatial autoregressive models, we find that candidates who share consultants are more likely to use similar campaign strategies than we would otherwise expect, conditional on numerous explanatory variables. These results, which largely withstand an extensive series of robustness and falsification tests, suggest that consultants play a key role in diffusing strategies among congressional campaigns.
political_economy  social_networks  us_elections  diffusion  epidemiology  networks  teaching  brendan.nyhan 
december 2017 by rvenkat
Taking Corrections Literally But Not Seriously? The Effects of Information on Factual Beliefs and Candidate Favorability by Brendan Nyhan, Ethan Porter, Jason Reifler, Thomas Wood :: SSRN
Are citizens willing to accept fact-checks of false or unsupported claims of candidates they support in the heat of a political campaign? Previous studies have reached conflicting conclusions about people’s willingness to update their factual beliefs in response to counter-attitudinal information. To discriminate between these findings, we conducted two experiments during the 2016 presidential campaign. Our results indicate that correcting misleading claims that Donald Trump made during his convention speech and in the first general election debate reduced belief in the claims in question even among his supporters. However, attitudes toward Trump were not affected. These results suggest that corrective information can reduce misperceptions, but will often have minimal effects on candidate evaluations or vote choice.
us_politics  political_psychology  fact_checking  misinformation  disinformation  2016  experiments  brendan.nyhan 
july 2017 by rvenkat
The Effects of Congressional Staff Networks in the US House of Representatives: The Journal of Politics: Vol 79, No 3
Standard accounts of legislative behavior typically neglect the activities of professional staff, who are treated as extensions of the elected officials they serve. However, staff appear to have substantial independent effects on observed levels of legislator productivity and policy preferences. In this article, we use a novel data set of comprehensive longitudinal employment records from the US House of Representatives to estimate the effects of congressional staff on legislative behavior. Specifically, results from a series of heteroskedastic Bayesian spatial autoregressive models indicate that members of Congress who exchange important staff members across congresses are more similar in their legislative effectiveness and voting patterns than we would otherwise expect. These findings suggest that scholars should reconsider the role of staff in the legislative process.
us_congress  us_politics  social_networks  teaching  networks  political_sociology  political_economy  brendan.nyhan 
july 2017 by rvenkat
When Corrections Fail: The Persistence of Political Misperceptions | SpringerLink
An extensive literature addresses citizen ignorance, but very little research focuses on misperceptions. Can these false or unsubstantiated beliefs about politics be corrected? Previous studies have not tested the efficacy of corrections in a realistic format. We conducted four experiments in which subjects read mock news articles that included either a misleading claim from a politician, or a misleading claim and a correction. Results indicate that corrections frequently fail to reduce misperceptions among the targeted ideological group. We also document several instances of a “backfire effect” in which corrections actually increase misperceptions among the group in question.
political_psychology  cultural_cognition  misinformation  us_politics  trumpism  dmce  teaching  brendan.nyhan 
june 2017 by rvenkat
Displacing Misinformation about Events: An Experimental Test of Causal Corrections | Journal of Experimental Political Science | Cambridge Core
Misinformation can be very difficult to correct and may have lasting effects even after it is discredited. One reason for this persistence is the manner in which people make causal inferences based on available information about a given event or outcome. As a result, false information may continue to influence beliefs and attitudes even after being debunked if it is not replaced by an alternate causal explanation. We test this hypothesis using an experimental paradigm adapted from the psychology literature on the continued influence effect and find that a causal explanation for an unexplained event is significantly more effective than a denial even when the denial is backed by unusually strong evidence. This result has significant implications for how to most effectively counter misinformation about controversial political events and outcomes.
political_psychology  causal_inference  cultural_cognition  brendan.nyhan  dmce  teaching  ? 
march 2017 by rvenkat
The Nature and Origins of Misperceptions: Understanding False and Unsupported Beliefs About Politics - Flynn - 2017 - Political Psychology - Wiley Online Library
Political misperceptions can distort public debate and undermine people's ability to form meaningful opinions. Why do people often hold these false or unsupported beliefs, and why is it sometimes so difficult to convince them otherwise? We argue that political misperceptions are typically rooted in directionally motivated reasoning, which limits the effectiveness of corrective information about controversial issues and political figures. We discuss factors known to affect the prevalence of directionally motivated reasoning and assess strategies for accurately measuring misperceptions in surveys. Finally, we address the normative implications of misperceptions for democracy and suggest important topics for future research.
brendan.nyhan  political_psychology  epidemiology  information_diffusion  social_networks  ?  dmce  teaching 
january 2017 by rvenkat

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