If you’re someone who’s “chronically online,” then chances are good that you’ve encountered content that is either false or misleading. This is officially known as “misinformation,” and according to non-profit organization KFF, during the COVID-19 pandemic, 78 percent of US adults were either duped or tripped up by at least one false statement about the COVID pandemic or the vaccines.
The online misinformation ecosystem is complicated, which makes actually improving the situation challenging. Social, psychological, and technological influences drive how fake news and other misleading facts spread across the internet.
Here’s one approach: Adding labels about the credibility of the source is a method that social media companies and third party organizations have been using to combat misinformation, although doing so has been contentious. For example, a study from MIT showed that putting false labels on some articles made users give more credibility to unlabeled articles (some of which might not have been checked or verified). The scientists who conducted the study termed this the “implied truth effect.”