Any reconceptualization of the Internet requires rethinking of incentives not only for content creation but also for content discovery and amplification. Academic and civic attention has been devoted to platforms’ amplification algorithms. But in countries such as India, content is amplified in closed messaging apps such as WhatsApp even in absence of platform enabled amplification. The lack of centralised moderation makes the information consumers the primary line of defence against low quality information. A point of interest in such a conundrum is the implication that people are highly susceptible to misinformation.
Social media and other informational platforms can be considered networked social systems with public goods, where the truth can be considered a public good. Information sharing can also be driven through social, legal, and financial incentives. Keeping these in mind, we aim to understand whether incentivizing people to share “good” and factual content and disincentivizing the sharing of misinformation, either through micropayments or through social feedback, reduces the sharing of misinformation.
First, participants responded to a demographic form, a short questionnaire, and a bot test. Those who fulfilled the inclusion criteria and consented to participate were invited to participate in the experiment. Participants were provided with a total of 25 messages, five messages on the first day (baseline) and ten each on two days after that. The order of the messages was randomised and counterbalanced. That is, all participants were provided with all five types of messages across the three days: plausible, implausible, true, false, and ‘wholesome.’ For more information on how this content was created, you can refer to this blog After this, participants were provided with Qualtrics including post-task questions.
We have made considerable progress on the following 2 deliverables:
The 2 remaining deliverables include publications around our study which will happen after we have analyzed the results of our study. Stay tuned for updates!