Toward a Social-Technological System that Inactivates False Rumors Through the Critical Thinking of Crowds
Proceedings of the 46th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-46), 649-658
10 Pages Posted: 22 Sep 2012 Last revised: 3 Apr 2013
Date Written: September 14, 2012
Critical thinking is an important part of media literacy. It allows people to find facts among rumors and to inactivate false information. Such abilities are essential when social media is flooded with rumors during disaster response. We envision a social-technological system in which critical thinking is crowd-sourced: Individuals benefit from others' criticisms of false information, and the system inactivates the spread of false information. To test the plausibility of this system, we examined the effect of exposure to criticisms on people’s decision to spread rumors in social media. When people were exposed to criticisms before rumors, the proportion of responses aimed at stopping the spread of rumors was significantly larger than when people were exposed to rumors before criticisms. We identified some psychological factors that could explain this effect. Based on our results, we discuss practical implications for developing a social-technological system that harnesses the critical thinking of crowds.
Keywords: Information transmission, rumor, critical thinking, crowd, social-technological system, psychology
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