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Fact-checking as a Tool to Combat Fake News

Partially supported by a NULab Seedling Grant.

The spread of fake news poses a significant challenge to democracies and individual decisions about health or other issues. However, identifying fake news is a greater challenge than one might assume; while 84% of Americans said they were very confident or somewhat confident in identifying fake news, studies found that most Americans failed to recognize fake news and even believed such false information to be true.  

Facing this challenge, scholars and practitioners have discussed fact-checking as an important tool to deter the massive diffusion of fake news. However, it remains understudied whether and how fact-checking information lessens intentions to share fake news on social media. Also, little is known about how the effect of fact-checking interacts with other contextual cues provided in social media, such as social media metrics (i.e., number of likes and shares). The current project aims to find answers to these overarching questions with online experiments. The first study under this project found that fact-checking weakens people’s intentions to share fake news on social media through the perceptions of media influence on self and others (i.e., Third-person perception). Fact-checking also nullified the effect of social media metrics on sharing intentions.  

Principal Investigator
Myojung Chung, Faculty, Journalism and Media Advocacy

Publications and Presentations

Chung, M., & Kim, N. (2020). When I Learn the News is False: How Fact-Checking Information Stems the Spread of Fake News Via Third-Person Perception. Human Communication Research

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