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Misinformation interventions are common, divisive, and poorly understood

Emily Saltz, Soubhik Barari, Claire Leibowicz and Claire Wardle

Social media platforms label, remove, or otherwise intervene on thousands of posts containing misleading or inaccurate information every day. Who encounters these interventions, and how do they react? A demographically representative survey of 1,207 Americans reveals that 49% have been exposed to some form of online misinformation intervention.

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Vaccine hesitancy in online spaces: A scoping review of the research literature, 2000-2020

Timothy Neff, Jonas Kaiser, Irene Pasquetto, Dariusz Jemielniak, Dimitra Dimitrakopoulou, Siobhan Grayson, Natalie Gyenes, Paola Ricaurte, Javier Ruiz-Soler and Amy Zhang

We review 100 articles published from 2000 to early 2020 that research aspects of vaccine hesitancy in online communication spaces and identify several gaps in the literature prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. These gaps relate to five areas: disciplinary focus; specific vaccine, condition, or disease focus; stakeholders and implications; research methodology; and geographical coverage.

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Review of social science research on the impact of countermeasures against influence operations

Laura Courchesne, Julia Ilhardt and Jacob N. Shapiro

Despite ongoing discussion of the need for increased regulation and oversight of social media, as well as debate over the extent to which the platforms themselves should be responsible for containing misinformation, there is little consensus on which interventions work to address the problem of influence operations and disinformation campaigns.

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The battleground of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation on Facebook: Fact checkers vs. misinformation spreaders

Aimei Yang, Jieun Shin, Alvin Zhou, Ke M. Huang-Isherwood, Eugene Lee, Chuqing Dong, Hye Min Kim, Yafei Zhang, Jingyi Sun, Yiqi Li, Yuanfeixue Nan, Lichen Zhen and Wenlin Liu

Our study examines Facebook posts containing nine prominent COVID-19 vaccine misinformation topics that circulated on the platform between March 1st, 2020 and March 1st, 2021. We first identify misinformation spreaders and fact checkers,1fact checker in our study is defined as any public account (including both individual and organizational accounts) that posts factual information about COVID-19 vaccine or posts debunking information about COVID-19 vaccine misinformation.

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Twitter flagged Donald Trump’s tweets with election misinformation: They continued to spread both on and off the platform

Zeve Sanderson, Megan A. Brown, Richard Bonneau, Jonathan Nagler and Joshua A. Tucker

We analyze the spread of Donald Trump’s tweets that were flagged by Twitter using two intervention strategies—attaching a warning label and blocking engagement with the tweet entirely. We find that while blocking engagement on certain tweets limited their diffusion, messages we examined with warning labels spread further on Twitter than those without labels.

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Happiness and surprise are associated with worse truth discernment of COVID-19 headlines among social media users in Nigeria

Leah R. Rosenzweig, Bence Bago, Adam J. Berinsky and David G. Rand

Do emotions we experience after reading headlines help us discern true from false information or cloud our judgement? Understanding whether emotions are associated with distinguishing truth from fiction and sharing information has implications for interventions designed to curb the spread of misinformation.

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Developing an accuracy-prompt toolkit to reduce COVID-19 misinformation online

Ziv Epstein, Adam J. Berinsky, Rocky Cole, Andrew Gully, Gordon Pennycook and David G. Rand

Recent research suggests that shifting users’ attention to accuracy increases the quality of news they subsequently share online. Here we help develop this initial observation into a suite of deployable interventions for practitioners. We ask (i) how prior results generalize to other approaches for prompting users to consider accuracy, and (ii) for whom these prompts are more versus less effective.

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Where’s the fake news at? European news consumers’ perceptions of misinformation across information sources and topics

Michael Hameleers, Anna Brosius and Claes H. de Vreese

This study indicates that news users across ten different European countries are quite concerned about misinformation in their information environment. Respondents are most likely to associate politicians, corporations, and foreign actors with misinformation. They perceive misinformation to be most common for topics like immigration, the economy, and the environment.

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Elections

Source alerts can reduce the harms of foreign disinformation

Jason Ross Arnold, Alexandra Reckendorf and Amanda L. Wintersieck

Social media companies have begun to use content-based alerts in their efforts to combat mis- and disinformation, including fact-check corrections and warnings of possible falsity, such as “This claim about election fraud is disputed.” Another harm reduction tool, source alerts, can be effective when a hidden foreign hand is known or suspected.

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How COVID drove the evolution of fact-checking

Samikshya Siwakoti, Kamya Yadav, Nicola Bariletto, Luca Zanotti, Ulas Erdogdu and Jacob N. Shapiro

With the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic came a flood of novel misinformation. Ranging from harmless false cures to dangerous rhetoric targeting minorities, coronavirus-related misinformation spread quickly wherever the virus itself did. Fact-checking organizations around the world took up the charge against misinformation, essentially crowdsourcing the task of debunking false narratives.

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