Research findings from the Everyday Misinformation Project will be presented at the Association of Internet Researchers annual conference, 18-21 October 2023.
We will participate in an international panel entitled Using Interpretive Methods to Study Credibility Evaluation of Online Information. The panel is organized by Yiping Xia (University of North Carolina), Pranav Malhotra, (University of Washington), Louise Stahl (University of Ottowa), and Everyday Misinfo’s Natalie-Anne Hall (Loughborough University). The research featured in the panel spans Europe, Latin America and North America, and includes samples focusing on diaspora communities from East and South Asia.
Our paper, entitled The Effectiveness of Misinformation Warning Tags on Encrypted Personal Messaging: User Experiences of WhatsApp’s “Forwarded (many times)”, is authored by Natalie-Anne Hall, Brendan Lawson, Cristian Vaccari and Andrew Chadwick. We use data from our fieldwork with 102 personal messaging users in the UK to interrogate the effectiveness of the “forwarded (many times)” tags and offer recommendations for the development of subsequent anti-misinformation warnings on personal messaging, a realm where automated fact-checking is impossible. These tags were implemented in response to a spate of violent incidents in which WhatsApp forwarding was implicated. They aim to encourage critical reflection on the source and veracity of a message before one sends it further.
We find that the effectiveness of the tags relies on a presumed association between forwarding and misinformation in the minds of users. But this association is context dependent, and may not be strong in the UK. We highlight the importance of understanding the different ways personal messaging platforms are used across contexts when designing tags intended to be relevant to users. Tags that simply describe a message as being “forwarded” may not be enough, but may need to be supported by the creation of user experience friction and/or communication campaigns.
Registration for AoIR 2023 will open soon – we hope to see you in Philadelphia in October.
A public report based on this research will also be published in the coming weeks, so please watch this space!