Fake news ‘vaccine’ works: ‘pre-bunk’ game reduces susceptibility to disinformation
In February 2018, University of Cambridge researchers helped launch the browser game Bad News. The study, published today in the journal Palgrave Communications, showed the perceived reliability of fake news before playing the game had reduced by an average of 21% after completing it. For the disinformation tactic of “impersonation”, often seen in the mimicking of trusted personalities on social media, the game reduced perceived reliability of the fake headlines and tweets by 24% from pre to post gameplay. Bad News gameplay reduced perceived reliability of deliberately polarising headlines by about 10%, and “discrediting” – attacking a legitimate source with accusations of bias – by 19%. For “conspiracy”, the spreading of false narratives blaming secretive groups for world events, perceived reliability was reduced by 20%.