May 30, 2024

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Playing against misinformation: The game reliably exposes the tactics used in social media

Playing against misinformation: The game reliably exposes the tactics used in social media

You've heard about it in history, and probably in social studies as well. But source work can do more than just generate enthusiasm. Especially since you can find the source of any fact on the Internet if you search long enough.

It will be important not only for students, but for the vast majority, to recognize misinformation and understand its causes. It's not just about political propaganda, regardless of the trend. Just think of the baseless advertising promises, from slimming drinks to unattainable fuel consumption figures for cars.

A study of more than 500 participants now shows that a specially developed computer game can be remarkably reliable in helping to identify false, questionable, misleading or incomplete news and information.

You slip into the manipulative role yourself and use a virtual social media account. The goal is the same as always: collect followers, clicks and digital recognition.

Six techniques are used to attract attention:

  • Underestimating direct competitors,
  • Emotional language, for example to arouse fear,
  • Creating an “us versus them” situation,
  • Pretending to have specialist knowledge, eg medical,
  • Good old conspiracy theory or
  • Disrupting discourse through trolling, i.e. through irrelevant, misleading or offensive posts.

In this way, study participants were able to learn about the methods and received feedback on the success of their messages. The game can be played individually, in groups, or as a class.

The results of the study are impressive. Between the pre- and post-play survey, and of course with the educational support, all participants were able to improve. This means that true reports are more likely to be labeled as such, and false reports, even with intent behind them, can be detected more reliably. Unsurprisingly, the playful nature of knowledge transfer is highlighted positively.

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If you want to try Bad News and gather as many followers as possible, Comes straight into the game here (There are many languages ​​to choose from).