How This Unusual Form of ‘Vaccine’ Will prevent Fake News

Fake News is becoming a problem across all media platforms. From photoshop to straight out slander, certain news outlets have taken to whole new levels of fabrication in order to get a story out.

Jon Roozenbeek and Sander van der Linden – researchers from Cambridge University – have created a ‘vaccine’ to help the prevention of fake news occurring – or in other words, to help people understand when news is fake or not. The vaccine is in the form of an online game, using psychological methods to gage how people best learn.

“Just as misinformation spreads like a virus we thought the potential vaccine could be…a vehicle that people could share and learn something from,” van Der Linden said in an interview with CNN Business.

The game consists of interactive questions that the player can choose from a variety of answers to begin with, and then they are able to create their own fake news with real credibility and virtual followers. The results from the 15,000 game participants have proven that after playing the game, there is an improved awareness of misinformation or misleading news, as they can see from the other side how fake news is spread.

WhatsApp (run by Facebook) helped fund the research, while also working with Roozenbeek and van der Linden, alongside Google, the British Foreign Office and the European Commission on how to use the game.

While there is evidence to say that people’s awareness has proved since using the game, the evidence also reveals without any hidden limitations that these people are mainly male with higher education.

Although the game is essentially showing people how to create their own fake news, the creators have said they are not worried about this, as people can easily learn that on their own anyway, their hope is that, “it offers enough herd immunity that even if some people go rogue, the people are protected by the larger community.”

Original article by Hadas Gold at CNN Business

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