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Battling the Coronavirus `Infodemic' Among Social Media Users in Africa

Molly Offer-WestortLeah R. RosenzweigSusan Athey
Dec 2022
摘要
During a global pandemic, how can we best prompt social media users todemonstrate discernment in sharing information online? We ran a contextualadaptive experiment on Facebook Messenger with users in Kenya and Nigeria andtested 40 combinations of interventions aimed at decreasing intentions to sharemisinformation while maintaining intentions to share factual posts related toCOVID-19. We estimate precise null effects of showing users warning flags orsuggesting related articles alongside misleading posts, tactics used by socialmedia platforms. Instead, users share more discerningly when they are giventips for spotting misinformation or are nudged to consider information'saccuracy, reducing misinformation sharing by 7.5% and 4.5% relative to control,respectively. We find significant heterogeneity in response to these treatmentsacross users, indicating tips and the accuracy nudge affect outcomes throughseparate mechanisms. These low-cost, scalable interventions have the potentialto improve the quality of information circulating online.
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