Tuesday, 8th March 2022
12:30 - 14:00
Clay Room - Nuffield College
Strategies for Reducing Misinformation Uptake in a Polarized Context: Experimental Evidence from Côte D'Ivoire
The increasing use of misinformation and growing social and political polarization form a vicious circle: political entrepreneurs are incentivized to spread misinformation about the outgroup and citizens are increasingly motivated to engage with misinformation. In this study, we focus on one direction in this causal relationship: the preference among consumers to assimilate biased media. We do so in Côte d’Ivoire, a highly polarized context where misinformation is rampant and has even had violent consequences. We argue and test the idea that combatting misinformation requires not only increasing citizen capacity to identify it, but also increasing the motivation to ignore it. Specifically, we compare the independent and joint effectiveness of two types of interventions: a digital literacy intervention and interventions aimed at reducing affective polarization. Preliminary results indicate that a digital literacy intervention alone has no effect on the likelihood of believing misinformation but that an intervention aimed at improving perceptions of the outgroup can reduce belief in misinformation.