Fighting fake news and post-truth politics with behavioural science

Date Posted: May 25, 2019 Last Modified: May 25, 2019
Fighting fake news and post-truth politics with behavioural science: The post-truth pledge Photo: Reagan Guadagnoli, Flickr

This paper describes a proposed intervention, the Pro-truth Pledge (PTP) which combines behavioural science research with crowd-sourcing to help address the problem of fake news. The PTP is a pledge towards behaviours which are more oriented towards truthfulness for both private citizens and public figures. The study finds the use of PTP an effective measure in reducing the spread of misinformation online.

  • The study examined the effects of taking the PTP on the behaviour of Facebook users' after a week and found the improvement statistically significant, with a decrease in the spread of misinformation on social media.
  • As this was a preliminary study, its limitations require further research. One such limitation is that as the PTP is a voluntary pledge, the same effects on non-voluntary pledges or in the form of control groups needs to be further studied.
  • The paper suggests that a solution to curb the spread the misinformation is to use techno-cognitive solutions that combine technology with psychological principles as used in the PTP.