A mockup of an over-the-top news headline that reads "ALIENS!". In front of it is a reminder: "If shocking claims in a headline sound unbelievable, then they probably are."

Tested

Convincing

Dispel Rumors

List tips for checking accuracy of shared headlines

Reduces spread of mis- and disinformation

List tips for checking accuracy of shared headlines

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Overview

What It Is

A simple list of tips that can be followed to check the accuracy of headlines on social media

(e.g., "Be skeptical of headlines." "False news stories often have catchy headlines in all caps with exclamation points." "If shocking claims in the headline sound unbelievable, they probably are.", &c.)

What It Does

People exposed to the tips were significantly more skeptical of false news stories.

It's noted in testing that users also became slightly more skeptical of legitimate news stories, but not nearly to the same degree.

When To Use It

This should appear either during the sharing of news articles, or as an intermittent reminder, or public-service-type announcement, from the platform itself to the user to bear the accuracy of headlines in mind.

How We Know It Works

How It Might Work

"Consistent with our first hypothesis [on whether the media literacy intervention reduces belief in false news stories], randomized exposure to the media literacy intervention causes a decrease in the perceived accuracy of false news articles. Results from wave 1 of the US study in Table 1 show a decrease of nearly 0.2 points on a 4-point scale (intent to treat [ITT]: β=−0.196, SE=0.020; P

Why It Matters

With the understanding that poor digital media literacy strongly correlates to belief in hoaxes and misinformation, finding a way to dispel falsehoods is critical to bringing users to a shared plane of understanding from which to cooperate. The authors of this study concluded that their findings were "largely encouraging" and that they suggest that, "relatively short, scalable interventions could be effective in fighting misinformation" globally.

Special Considerations

Few people are prepared to effectively navigate the online information environment. This global deficit in digital media literacy has been identified as a critical factor explaining widespread belief in online misinformation, leading to changes in education policy and the design of technology plat-forms. However, little rigorous evidence exists documenting the relationship between digital media literacy and people’s ability to distinguish between low- and high-quality news online. This large-scale study evaluates the effectiveness of a real world digital media literacy intervention in both the United States and India. Our largely encouraging results indicate that relatively short, scalable interventions could be effective in fighting misinformation around the world.

Andrew M. Guess, Michael Lerner, Benjamin Lyons, & al.

Examples

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Our Confidence Rating

Convincing

A grade of Convincing is reserved for interventions for which the majority of evidence is peer-reviewed experiments that have yet to undergo attempts at replication.

This is the second highest grade that we give interventions.

In The Wild

This intervention has precedence, and exists, or has at one time or another, existed in the wild.

Citations

Intervention Specific Research

A digital media literacy intervention increases discernment between mainstream and false news in the United States and India

Author(s)

Andrew M. Guess, Michael Lerner, Benjamin Lyons, & al.

Date of Publication

June 20, 2020

Publication Status
Peer Reviewed
Study Design
Experimental
Sample Size(s)

Min.

Total

4907

Max.

Affiliation(s)

Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A

Journal Name

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A

Entry Type

Research Article or Manuscript

Publication Statistics
Online Impact
Citations
APA Citation

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Further Reading

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