Evaluating misinformation research and tools

The CNN article regarding the “Bad News” game discussed why it was created and who it targets. The article puts identifying misinformation partially on the shoulders of the public and that one reason why people are fooled into believing and sharing misinformation is because they don’t understand how misinformation is created and spread. I feel like by the article, in some way, isn’t putting any blame on stopping misinformation or educating people about misinformation on social media and media platforms. When they write that misinformation is spread on WhatsApp and Facebook is helping to fund the research for the game, that this is a type of circle. If Facebook was doing their own monitoring of information that is being spread on their platforms and sister platforms, and then they decided to help financially back a game that is educating people on misinformation, this would say that they’re doing what they can to stop these practices. Instead, according to the article, they know misinformation is spread and the way I read the article, their just spending money to back research instead of doing some actual work themselves. They’re trying to look like an activist, but they’re all talk.

The article suggests that misinformation is spread by a lack of knowledge about how misinformation is spread. “You may be duped by the trick because you don’t know how it works. But once you know how it works you wont be fooled again” and this game will educate someone about how misinformation is created and spread and that will help stop the spread of it since “they will know how it works”. Also, based on the actual real work to stop misinformation on their sites, these platforms are making money off of the spread of misinformation.

The Game

I thought that The Game touched on some human emotions that everyone can relate to. One of the questions was asking if the person wanted to vent their frustrations using social media. We see this every day where people share information based on their feelings. I thought the blog post using red, white and blue was a nice touch.

These colors are patriotic and eye catching. I can see many people clicking on something like this because it evokes a possible positive emotional response.

The game also used a popular topic, climate change. Then there was the option to choose how the person wanted to attach this topic. The attack could have been an emotional one, about science or scientists.

If a meme was chosen, it mixed in some truth with humor, making it easily shareable.

humorous meme that spreads misinformation

According to Chapter 2, The Information Behavior of it All, we know that misinformation spreads quickly over social media. It is an easy place to share information quickly. The weather person is never correct and so a meme poking fun of the weather report always being wrong is funny. But by sharing a meme like this, misinformation about climate change has just been spread. I think overall the game highlighted some scenarios that we often encounter on social media. For the person who is not media literate, the game will help them associate some of the content that they see online with content shown in the game helping them to learn how to identify fake information. I don’t know how many people who think they are savvy will sit through this 15-minute game but if they even play it for 2 minutes maybe they will learn something.

Research Design

According to Business Standard if someone trusts their gut about information, they’re more likely to share it. I think that the Get Bad News game can lead players through an exercise about what they are going to see in their own life and that some of it is very “believable”.

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