Conferencia “The role of fact checking and people’s worldview in misinformation spreading: Insights from the TRESCA Project”

strategy_and_security_society.pngPor Sara Degli Esposti (IPP-CSIC)

Participa en la Glasgow University Strategy and Security Society

Evento online a través de Zoom (enlace)

Organiza: Glasgow University Strategy and Security Society

Abstract: Since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which left open questions on the role of digital platforms and voter microtargeting in influencing political elections, scholars in Western democracies have engaged in a discussion about the risks of hybrid threats, especially information operations, and the widespread proliferation of misinformation on digital platforms. Furthermore, the pandemic, and the associated infodemic, have made evident the dangerous impact that digital mass media manipulation of scientific facts can have on individual and collective behavior and, thus, on public health. Among the factors influencing people’s ability to distinguish accurate from inaccurate information, there is a person’s worldview. We know that individuals are more likely to accept or reject misinformation based on whether it is consistent with their pre-existing partisan and ideological beliefs. Thus, people are more vulnerable to misinformation when it is consistent with their previous beliefs or overarching vision of the world. Here I rely on recent data collected as part of the activities of the H2020 TRESCA project to answer questions about the role that fact-checking websites can play in debunking misinformation without creating unnecessary cognitive dissonance, namely by taking into consideration a person’s ideology or political/cultural worldview. Considerations on potential strategies to increase people’s awareness of their ideological biases and degree of vulnerability to misinformation are also explored. By drawing insight from previous studies in political psychology and computer science, this work hopes to both theoretically and empirically contribute to the interdisciplinary field of studies emerging around post-truth and fake news and their impact on democracy.