A mockup for a browser link being shared. The button below includes the prompt: "I think this news is accurate."

Accuracy Prompts

Reduces re-posting of fake news

Our confidence rating

Likely

Share This Intervention

What It Is

Text on the share button that asks users to consider the accuracy of news.

Civic Signal Being Amplified

Understand
:
Show reliable information

When To Use It

On social media feeds where users have an option to share a post with a link to a news item.

What Is Its Intended Impact

By calling the user's attention to accuracy, they will be more apt to discern if a news item is misinformation and be less likely to share false news.

Evidence That It Works

Evidence That It Works

Capraro and Celadin (2022) conducted lab experiments in which participants were shown true and false news items and given the option to click on a "share" button to indicate they would share them on social media. When the researchers included the text "think if this news is accurate" on the share button, participants were more than 25% less likely to indicate that they would share fake news compared to participants who did not see an accuracy prompt. Importantly, the prompt did not decrease participants' intention to share real news.

Capraro and Celadin's studies build off of multiple experiments conducted by Pennycook, Rand and colleagues (Pennycook et al., 2022) that likewise show that prompting people to think about accuracy before they see news stories can decrease intentions to share fake news. Significantly, one of their studies (Pennycook et al., 2021) was conducted as a field experiment on Twitter where the researchers set up accounts to send other Twitter users messages asking them to assess if a news story was real or fake. After receiving such a message, users were less likely to share fake news for at least 24 hours, compared to the same time period before receiving the message. Although platforms cannot adopt that specific intervention (as it involves a deceptive account), it provides evidence that accuracy nudges are not just effective in lab experiments but will also decrease shares of fake news on real platforms.

Why It Matters

Fake news make up a small percentage of information on social media, but because fabricated stories are often designed to provoke division and anger, even small amounts of fake news can lead to civic and physical harm. Platforms, however, may be limited in their ability to identify and remove fake news because of the challenges in creating reliable algorithms and concerns over censorship. By prompting accuracy, platforms can call on the judgment of good faith users to identify and slow the spread of fake news.

Special Considerations

In another version of their intervention, Capraro and Celadin include the text "I think this news is accurate." In this "accuracy endorsement" prompt, participants were even less likely to share fake news and significantly more likely to share real news. While an "endorsement" of news accuracy goes farther than merely prompting users to think of accuracy and changes the experience of sharing, it may be an effective way to encourage users to promote accurate news. It also may increase engagement because, as mentioned above, real news makes up the vast majority of links shared on social media.

Examples

This intervention entry currently lacks photographic evidence (screencaps, &c.)

Citations

Accuracy prompts are a replicable and generalizable approach for reducing the spread of misinformation

Gordon Pennycook, David Rand
Nature
April 28, 2022
10.1038/s41467-022-30073-5

“I Think This News Is Accurate”: Endorsing Accuracy Decreases the Sharing of Fake News and Increases the Sharing of Real News

Valerio Capraro, Tatiana Celadin
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin
July 22, 2022
10.1177/01461672221117691

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Further reading

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