Detecting fake news by playing a game


Dutch media collective DROG together with Cambridge researchers is launching an English version of the fake news game online today that teaches people how to immunise themselves against fake news.

“The game encourages players to stoke anger, mistrust and fear in the public by manipulating digital news and social media. Players build audiences for their fake news sites by publishing polarizing falsehoods, deploying Twitter bots, photoshopping evidence, and inciting conspiracy theories in the wake of public tragedy, all while maintaining a ‘credibility score’ to remain as persuasive as possible”.

Teenagers at a Dutch secondary school played the game use pen and paper, and demonstrated that the perceived ‘reliability’ of fake news diminished with those who played the game, as compared to a control group.

“If you know what it’s like to walk in the shoes of someone who is actively trying to deceive you, it should increase your ability to spot and resist the techniques of deceit”, explains says Dr. Sander van der Linden, Director of Cambridge University’s Social Decision-Making Lab.

The game will be rolled out in other languages and aimed at countries that have a high level of fake news like Ukraine.


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