Don’t Correct me or I Double Down

MIT study: The double-down is real: Correcting online falsehoods might make matters worse by Peter Dizikes
“Not only is misinformation increasing online, but attempting to correct it politely on Twitter can have negative consequences, leading to even less-accurate tweets and more toxicity from the people being corrected, according to a new study co-authored by a group of MIT scholars. …
The study was centered around a Twitter field experiment in which a research team offered polite corrections, complete with links to solid evidence, in replies to flagrantly false tweets about politics. …What we found was not encouraging,” says Mohsen Mosleh, “After a user was corrected … they retweeted news that was significantly lower in quality and higher in partisan slant, and their retweets contained more toxic language.” …

“Our observation that the effect only happens to retweets suggests that the effect is operating through the channel of attention,” says Rand, noting that on Twitter, people seem to spend a relatively long time crafting primary tweets, and little time making decisions about retweets.

He adds: “We might have expected that being corrected would shift one’s attention to accuracy. But instead, it seems that getting publicly corrected by another user shifted people’s attention away from accuracy—perhaps to other social factors such as embarrassment. …

As Rand observes, the current result seemingly does not follow some of the previous findings that he and other colleagues have made, such as a study published in Nature in March showing that neutral, nonconfrontational reminders about the concept of accuracy can increase the quality of the news people share on social media.

“The difference between these results and our prior work on subtle accuracy nudges highlights how complicated the relevant psychology is,” Rand says. …” …

read whole article at  5/2021  Mohsen Mosleh et al, Perverse Downstream Consequences of Debunking: Being Corrected by Another User for Posting False Political News Increases Subsequent Sharing of Low Quality, Partisan, and Toxic Content in a Twitter Field Experiment Nature

Couldn’t resist posting this. Somehow it reminds me of how Equilibrium Economics reacts to corrections?

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