You see a bit of fake news on Twitter. Should you debunk it? Why not, right?
Fact-checkers and researchers have looked at the impact of debunking on the belief in the false claim — and have found little evidence that issuing a correction could backfire, though debates continue. A new paper from Mohsen Mosleh, Cameron Martel, Dean Eckles, and David Rand, however, takes a look at the effect of debunking on subsequent behavior.
Would being publicly corrected reduce a user’s tendency to share fake news? Maybe prompt them to tweet with a little more civility? The results were not encouraging.
In the 24 hours after being corrected, Twitter users who received a reply debunking a claim made in one of their posts posted more content from disreputable sources. There was also a significant uptick in the partisan slant and toxicity of their subsequent posts.