Debunking misinformation Lets debrief on Thanksgiving First know

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Debunking misinformation

Debunking misinformation

Let’s debrief on Thanksgiving First, know where you really stand: take the Quiz Second,

Let’s debrief on Thanksgiving First, know where you really stand: take the Quiz Second, prepare yourself for the other side Third, “in-class” exercise: 1 -page 1. Take notes on the political talks in your family 2. How do those talks relate to issues we discussed in class? 3. How did you and your family members react to disagreement?

Online ethnography grades posted: comments as edits on Gdrive Double-check grades and revise comments

Online ethnography grades posted: comments as edits on Gdrive Double-check grades and revise comments Questions as you prepare for finals: a. Were your sites “fake news”? Why/why not? (no right answer, but you must defend yours) b. What makes a site partisan?

What makes a site partisan or fake? Sins of omission or commission? Acts (or

What makes a site partisan or fake? Sins of omission or commission? Acts (or sins) of omission and commission are, respectively, things you have failed to do, and things you have done “One way that makes Breitbart’s biases more apparent is not how they tell the story, but which stories they tell” (Student 1) “There was a bit of question as to whether Trump actually made the calls or not. However, according to the reporting by The Blaze, he did indeed make phone calls to the families of the soldiers. I believe that this was information that Politicus. USA knew at some point, but failed to report, as it could have distorted their agenda. ” (Student 2)

What makes a site partisan or fake? Sins of omission or commission? Acts (or

What makes a site partisan or fake? Sins of omission or commission? Acts (or sins) of omission and commission are, respectively, things you have failed to do, and things you have done “Quite often, I noticed that the two websites were reporting on the same topics. However, the way they reported them were much different” (Student 3) “With blatant disregard for newsworthiness, honor or the basic elements of journalism you get a website like this that is full of Clickbait, surveys, native advertising and all around fake news. . . with ads that seamlessly blend into the sea of bullshit” (Student 4)

Omission 1. Selection of stories to cover No misinformation or misleading connections Story selection

Omission 1. Selection of stories to cover No misinformation or misleading connections Story selection bias “One way that makes Breitbart’s biases more apparent is not how they tell the story, but which stories they tell” (Student 1)

Omission 2. Selection of sides to cover No misinformation or misleading content Source or

Omission 2. Selection of sides to cover No misinformation or misleading content Source or information selection bias “There was a bit of question as to whether Trump actually made the calls or not. However, according to the reporting by The Blaze, he did indeed make phone calls to the families of the soldiers. I believe that this was information that Politicus. USA knew at some point, but failed to report, as it could have distorted their agenda. ” (Student 2)

Commission 4. Presentation bias (framing) How the story is told No misinformation, but misleading

Commission 4. Presentation bias (framing) How the story is told No misinformation, but misleading content Bias on the way attributes of the object covered are presented “Quite often, I noticed that the two websites were reporting on the same topics. However, the way they reported them were much different” (Student 3)

Commission 4. False or misleading information Misinformation, misleading information, no ad flagging Bias on

Commission 4. False or misleading information Misinformation, misleading information, no ad flagging Bias on invented facts “With blatant disregard for newsworthiness, honor or the basic elements of journalism you get a website like this that is full of Clickbait, surveys, native advertising and all around fake news. . . with ads that seamlessly blend into the sea of bullshit” (Student 4)

Do these matter? Type of bias Strategy Examples Selecting which stories to cover Omission

Do these matter? Type of bias Strategy Examples Selecting which stories to cover Omission Conservatives focusing on attacks in NYC, while liberals focusing on attacks in Las Vegas Selecting which information to include Omission Sites omitting information they had, usingle-side sources Manipulating how the story is presented (framing) Commission Charged language, misleading connections Making up false or misleading facts Commission Completely false or misleading stories; ads posing as real news w/o label

Have you ever tried to debunk someone online? What happened?

Have you ever tried to debunk someone online? What happened?

15 Facebook arguments nobody is going to win (Buzzfeed list)

15 Facebook arguments nobody is going to win (Buzzfeed list)

This may actually work. Why?

This may actually work. Why?

How to debunk misinformation? Myth: Public misperceptions are due to a lack of knowledge

How to debunk misinformation? Myth: Public misperceptions are due to a lack of knowledge and that the solution is more information (“information deficit model”) Once people receive misinformation, it’s quite difficult to remove its influence Even if they accept the correction, beliefs persist (Thorson, 2016)

Backfire effect Problem: to debunk something, you have to say it first and people’s

Backfire effect Problem: to debunk something, you have to say it first and people’s memories can work against you (e. g. T or F questions in exam) Solution: Avoid mentioning the myth altogether while correcting it. When seeking to counter misinformation, the best approach is to focus on the facts you wish to communicate

Backfire effect Overkill problem: the more counterarguments you provide, the less successful you’ll be

Backfire effect Overkill problem: the more counterarguments you provide, the less successful you’ll be in debunking a myth takes more cognitive effort A simple myth is more cognitively attractive than an over-complicated correction Solution: Less is more.

Worldview backfire effect When debunking something, you are also attacking people’s identities For those

Worldview backfire effect When debunking something, you are also attacking people’s identities For those who are strongly fixed in their views, being confronted with counter-arguments can cause their views to be strengthened people spend more time actively arguing against opposing arguments Solution: self-affirmation and framing

Belief echos (Thorson, 2016) Exposure to negative political information continues to shape attitudes even

Belief echos (Thorson, 2016) Exposure to negative political information continues to shape attitudes even after the information has been effectively discredited (Thorson, 2015) 3 experiments

Belief echos (Thorson, 2016) All experiments employ the same piece of negative misinformation: namely

Belief echos (Thorson, 2016) All experiments employ the same piece of negative misinformation: namely that a candidate accepted campaign donations from a convicted felon. Correction: Regarding the candidates’ biographies, an article published in the Kansas City Star last week stated that Daniel Elsio, a felon convicted of drug trafficking and murder, was a frequent donor to John Mc. Kenna’s campaign and attended several [Republican/Democratic] party fundraisers. However, further investigation of the campaign donation records has shown that the donor listed was actually Daniel Elio, the owner of a local car dealership.

Belief echos (Thorson, 2016) Participants received misinformation reinforcing partisan beliefs, and correction. Despite correction

Belief echos (Thorson, 2016) Participants received misinformation reinforcing partisan beliefs, and correction. Despite correction effectiveness, beliefs persisted. Participants still reported lower positive evaluation of the candidate, even when correction was immediate

Belief echos Despite correction being processed, participants still reported lower positive evaluation of the

Belief echos Despite correction being processed, participants still reported lower positive evaluation of the candidate, even when correction was immediate Belief echoes challenge a major assumption of the marketplace of ideas journalistic fact-checking: that once a piece of information has been discredited, it will cease to affect attitudes and preferences even unfounded criticism may result in substantial reputational damage

So what can we do? First, accept: Once people receive misinformation, it’s quite difficult

So what can we do? First, accept: Once people receive misinformation, it’s quite difficult to remove its influence complex cognitive processes Backfire effect: debunking a myth can actually strengthen it in people’s minds Keep it simple, avoid mentioning the myth, find common ground, frame well and self-affirm

Let’s debrief on Thanksgiving First, know where you really stand: take the Quiz Second,

Let’s debrief on Thanksgiving First, know where you really stand: take the Quiz Second, prepare yourself for the other side Third, “in-class” exercise: 1 -page 1. Take notes on the political talks in your family 2. How do those talks relate to issues we discussed in class? 3. How did you and your family members react to disagreement?

How to debunk misinformation? Information deficit model? Myth: Public misperceptions are due to a

How to debunk misinformation? Information deficit model? Myth: Public misperceptions are due to a lack of knowledge and that the solution is more information Once people receive misinformation, it’s quite difficult to remove its influence Even if they accept the correction, beliefs persist (Thorson, 2016)

Why is it so hard? 1) You have to repeat myth when correcting 2)

Why is it so hard? 1) You have to repeat myth when correcting 2) Overkill problem: cognitively easier 3) Worldview: corrections attack person’s identity, making them find more arguments to believe the myth

Backfire effect Problem: to debunk something, you have to say it first and people’s

Backfire effect Problem: to debunk something, you have to say it first and people’s memories can work against you (e. g. T or F questions in exam) Solution: Avoid mentioning the myth altogether while correcting it. When seeking to counter misinformation, the best approach is to focus on the facts you wish to communicate

Backfire effect Overkill problem: the more counterarguments you provide, the less successful you’ll be

Backfire effect Overkill problem: the more counterarguments you provide, the less successful you’ll be in debunking a myth takes more cognitive effort A simple myth is more cognitively attractive than an over-complicated correction Solution: Less is more.

Worldview backfire effect When debunking something, you are also attacking people’s identities For those

Worldview backfire effect When debunking something, you are also attacking people’s identities For those who are strongly fixed in their views, being confronted with counter-arguments can cause their views to be strengthened people spend more time actively arguing against opposing arguments Solution: self-affirmation and framing

Filling the gap When people believe misinformation, they have a mental model When myth

Filling the gap When people believe misinformation, they have a mental model When myth is debunked, they are left with a gap Humans prefer an incorrect model to an incomplete one You must provide an alternative narrative Example: jurors more likely to reduce guilty verdicts when alternative suspect is provided

Filling the gap For it to work, alternative narrative must be plausible and explain

Filling the gap For it to work, alternative narrative must be plausible and explain all observed features Explain why misinformer promoted the myth

Effective debunking 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) Core facts Explicit warnings when mentioning myth

Effective debunking 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) Core facts Explicit warnings when mentioning myth (avoid) Alternative explanation Graphics Self-affirmation

In-class exercise: Debunking myths 1. Vaccines cause autism: Autism has now been included among

In-class exercise: Debunking myths 1. Vaccines cause autism: Autism has now been included among the known side effects of the DTa. P (Diphtheria, Tetanus, and acellular Pertussis) vaccine 2. Global warming is a hoax 3. The government adds fluoride to drinking water for sinister purposes 4. 09/11 was an inside job