Using nudges to reduce the appeal of online misinformation

Misinformation is ubiquitous online, including fake news, misleading scientific and health claims, uncorroborated rumors and other forms of misinformation. The proposed research explores how nudges can be used to make misinformation and its purveyors less appealing to people, reducing the likelihood that they will be swayed by it and consume if further. We focus on how fluency can affect judgments of misinformation and interest in engaging further with those who spread it. Fluency, or the experienced ease with which information is processed, can occur because information is more legible, readable, or visually appealing. This suggests that if misinformation is presented in a fluent manner, susceptible individuals will be especially likely to fall prey to it. In our project, we build on this insight and explore different ways of altering the presentation of misinformation and their impact. Our goal is to determine when reduced fluency is most effective in diminishing the appeal and effectiveness of misinformation and those who spread it.

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