When Do Details Matter? Source Rating Summaries and Details in the Fight against Fake News on Social Media
45 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2019
Date Written: September 6, 2019
The rise of fake news has become a major concern for social media platforms and their users. One possible solution is to attach a rating of the source that produced the article (based on past fact-checking results) to every article when it is first published (as opposed to a rating for each article individually). We conducted two online experiments to investigate the effects of a summary indicator of source rating (an icon) and detailed source rating information (a descriptive label) on user’s belief in news articles on social media. We found that negative summary indicators reduced social media users’ beliefs in the articles, but positive summary indicators had little influence. In contrast, the detailed rating information both increased and decreased belief, with positive rating details increasing belief and negative rating details decreasing belief. We also found confirmation bias to be prominent; users were more likely to believe articles that aligned with their prior opinions. Users were more likely to exert cognitive effort to examine the rating details when the articles aligned with their pre-exiting opinions, but the nature of the summary indicator (positive or negative) had no effect on this choice.
Keywords: Fake news, disinformation, social media, source rating, rating details, dual process cognition
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