Prominent Misinformation Interventions Reduce Misperceptions but Increase Skepticism

Emma Hoes, Brian Aitken, Jingwen Zhang, Tomasz Gackowski, and Magdalena Wojcieszak



Current interventions to combat misinformation, including fact-checking, media literacy tips, and media coverage of misinformation, may have unintended consequences for democracy. We propose that these interventions may increase skepticism toward all information, including accurate information. Across three online survey experiments in three diverse countries (the US, Poland, and Hong Kong, total N = 6,127), we test the negative spillover-effects of existing strategies and compare them with three alternative interventions against misinformation. We examine how exposure to factchecking, media literacy tips, and media coverage of misinformation affects individuals’ perception of both factual and false information, as well as their trust in key democratic institutions. Our results show that while all interventions successfully reduce belief in false information, they also negatively impact the credibility of factual information. This highlights the need for further improved strategies that minimize the harms and maximize the benefits of interventions against misinformation.



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Hoes, E., Aitken, B., Zhang, J., Gackowski, T., & Wojcieszak, M. (2023). Prominent misinformation interventions reduce misperceptions but increase skepticism.


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