A mockup of a prompt asking users to rate the accuracy of a headline on a scale of 1-to-5.

Headline Rating Interstitial

Reduce sharing of misinformation

Our confidence rating

Convincing

How do our ratings work?

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What It Is

Asks a user to rate the accuracy of the headline of a non-political news story.

When To Use It

As an interstitial, this should appear while a user is sharing a post or link, before their post goes live.

What Is Its Intended Impact

Users exposed to this prompt go on to share higher-quality news sources, and are more selective about content they interact with on the platform (liking, commenting etc., higher quality posts and shares) for at least the following 24 hours.

How We Know It Works

How We Know It Might Work

"We find clear evidence that the single accuracy message made users more discerning in their subsequent sharing decisions." write the authors of the study. "Relative to baseline, the accuracy message increased the average quality of the news sources shared, t(5378)=2.90, p=.004, and the total quality of shared sources summed over all posts, t(5378)=3.12, p=.002."

"This translates into increases of 4.8% and 9.0% respectively when estimating the treatment effect for user-days on which tweets would occur in treatment (that is, excluding user-days in the “never-taker” principal stratum[...] because the treatment cannot have an effect when no tweets would occur in either treatment or control); including user-days with no tweets yields an increase of 2.1% and 4.0%in average and total quality, respectively.

"Furthermore, the treatment more than tripled the level of sharing discernment (i.e., difference in number of mainstream versus fake/hyper-partisan links shared per user-day; interaction between post-treatment dummy and link type, t(5378)=3.27, p=.001)."

Why It Matters

On top of the immediate effects for any given users, this has a cascading effect to their followers who in turn are exposed to less misinformation.

Improving the quality of the content shared by one user improves the content that their followers see, and therefore improves the content their followers share. This in turn improves what the followers’ followers see and share, and so on. Thus, the cumulative effects of such an intervention may be substantially larger than what is observed when only examining the treated individuals–particularly given that the treatment is as effective, if not more so, for users with larger numbers of followers.
– Pennycook & al. 2019

Special Considerations

Examples

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

Citations

Nature

Shifting attention to accuracy can reduce misinformation online

Gordon Pennycook, Ziv Epstein, Mohsen Mosleh, Antonio Arechar, Dean Eckles, David Rand
November 13, 2019
DOI:
10.1038/s41586-021-03344-2

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Further reading

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