Our work is informed by the latest research on misinformation, psychology, science communication, and social media.
Check below for summaries of recent research and debunking resources, provided by the University of Alberta’s Health Law Institute.
People value efforts to counter misinformation
A study of how the public perceives online corrections of misinformation found that most people broadly endorse and appreciate the practice. Indeed, the majority report not only liking corrections on social media, but see it “as a public responsibility.” This is good news for those countering misinformation – your work is appreciated! (July 26, 2021)
Nudging people to pause and think about accuracy can help
Numerous studies suggest that getting people to pause before they share online material might slow the spread of misinformation. Most people want to be accurate. But, as a recent study found, “people often share misinformation because their attention is focused on factors other than accuracy.” Finding ways to shift attention to accuracy can increase the “quality of news that people subsequently share.” Indeed, there seems to be a range of accuracy prompts that may be effective in this context. (July 26, 2021)
Yes, Debunking Works!
The body of evidence highlighting the value of debunking continues to grow. One recent study found that debunking misinformation online “improved subsequent truth discernment more than providing the same information during (labeling) or before (prebunking) exposure.” Another study also concluded that countering misinformation is effective, particularly if content that is easily sharable on social media and promotes credible facts are utilized. (July 26, 2021)
Credible Resources for Debunking
- WHO – How to report misinformation online
- Ryerson Social Media Lab – The COVID19MisInfo.org Portal
- MediaSmarts – Check Then Share
- European Centre for Disease Prevention – Countering Online Vaccine Misinformation
- Debunking Handbook
- WHO – Immunizing the Public Against Misinformation
- Journalist Resource – 9 tips for effective collaborations between journalists and academic researchers
- Harvard Misinformation Journal
- Full Fact – The backfire effect: Does it exist? And does it matter for factcheckers?
- The International Fact-Checking Network
- Health Law Institute: Debunking Works