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Looks Real, or Really Fake? Warnings, Visual Attention and Detection of False News Articles

Authors
  • Wojdynski, Bartosz W.1
  • Binford, Matthew T.1
  • Jefferson, Brittany N.1
  • 1 Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication , (Georgia)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Open Information Science
Publisher
De Gruyter Open
Publication Date
Sep 03, 2019
Volume
3
Issue
1
Pages
166–180
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1515/opis-2019-0012
Source
De Gruyter
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

In recent years, online misinformation designed to resemble news by adopting news design conventions has proven to be a powerful vehicle for deception and persuasion. In a 2 (prior warning: present/absent) x 2 (article type: false/true) eye-tracking experiment, news consumers (N=49) viewed four science news articles from unfamiliar sources, then rated each article for credibility before being asked to classify each as true news or as false information presented as news. Results show that reminding participants about the existence of fake news significantly improved correct classification of false news articles, but did not lead to a significant increase in misclassification of true news articles as false. Analysis of eye-tracking data showed that duration of visual attention to news identifier elements, such as the headline, byline, timestamp on a page, predicted correct article classification. Implications for consumer education and information design are discussed.

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