Fake news: young adults on the front line – Featured

2023-07-05 14:52:27

July 05, 2023

Cambridge University psychologists have developed the first “misinformation sensitivity test”. This quick quiz helps determine who may be susceptible to fake news. And young adults seem particularly affected.

« Disinformation is one of the biggest challenges facing democracies in the digital age explains Professor Sander van der Linden of the University of Cambridge. ” We see how online lies create polarized belief systems in major nations, with some consequences, such as the attempted Capitol insurrection (in the United States). »

To understand where and how best to fight misinformation, scientists have developed a test capable of measuring everyone’s sensitivity to fake news. So they developed, using a first version of ChatGPT, a 20-question test called “MIST”. This test was submitted to 8,000 participants.

Their study found that, on average, adult US citizens correctly classified – true or false – two-thirds (65%) of the titles shown to them. However, the poll found that young adults are worse than older adults at identifying fake news, and that the more time someone spends recreationally online, the less likely they are to be able to tell real news from real news. misinformation.

Regarding age, only 11% of 18-29 year olds scored high (more than 16 correct titles), while 36% scored low (only 10 correct titles or less). In contrast, 36% of people aged 65 or over scored high, while only 9% scored low.

« Young people are increasingly turning to social media to learn regarding the world, but these channels are awash with misinformation “, conclude the authors. ” Approaches to media literacy, as well as algorithms and platform design, need urgent overhaul. »

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