'Pre-bunking' shows promise in fight against misinformation | AP News

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  one month ago  •  30 comments

By:   AP NEWS

'Pre-bunking' shows promise in fight against misinformation | AP News
Soon after the Russian invasion, the hoaxes began. Ukrainian refugees were taking jobs, committing crimes and abusing handouts. The misinformation spread rapidly online throughout Eastern Europe, sometimes pushed by Moscow in an effort to destabilize its neighbors.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



Soon after the Russian invasion, the hoaxes began. Ukrainian refugees were taking jobs, committing crimes and abusing handouts. The misinformation spread rapidly online throughout Eastern Europe, sometimes pushed by Moscow in an effort to destabilize its neighbors.

It's the kind of swift spread of falsehoods that has been blamed in many countries for increased polarization and an erosion of trust in democratic institutions, journalism and science.

But countering or stopping misinformation has proven elusive.

New findings from university researchers and Google, however, reveal that one of the most promising responses to misinformation may also be one of the simplest.

In a paper published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances, the researchers detail how short online videos that teach basic critical thinking skills can make people better able to resist misinformation.

The researchers created a series of videos similar to a public service announcement that focused on specific misinformation techniques — characteristics seen in many common false claims that include emotionally charged language, personal attacks or false comparisons between two unrelated items.

Researchers then gave people a series of claims and found that those who watched the videos were significantly better at distinguishing false information from accurate information.

It's an approach called "pre-bunking" and it builds on years of research into an idea known as inoculation theory that suggests exposing people to how misinformation works, using harmless, fictional examples, can boost their defenses to false claims.

With the findings in hand, Google plans to roll out a series of pre-bunking videos soon in Eastern Europe focused on scapegoating, which can be seen in much of the misinformation about Ukrainian refugees. That focus was chosen by Jigsaw, a division of Google that works to find new ways to address misinformation and extremism.

"We have spent quite a bit of time and energy studying the problem," said Beth Goldberg, Jigsaw's head of research and one of the authors of the paper. "We started thinking: How can we make the users, the people online, more resilient to misinformation?"

The two-minute clips then demonstrate how these tactics can show up in headlines, or social media posts, to make a person believe something that isn't true.

They're surprisingly effective. Subjects who viewed the videos were found to be significantly better at distinguishing false claims from accurate information when tested by the researchers. The same positive results occurred when the experiment was replicated on YouTube, where nearly 1 million people viewed the videos.

Researchers are now investigating how long the effects last, and whether "booster" videos can help sustain the benefits.

Earlier findings have suggested that online games or tutorials that teach critical thinking skills can also improve resiliency to misinformation. But videos, which could be played alongside online advertisements, are likely to reach many more people, said Jon Roozenbeek, a Cambridge University professor and one of the authors of the study.

Other authors included researchers at the University of Bristol in the U.K. and the University of Western Australia.

Google's effort will be one of the largest real-world tests of pre-bunking so far. The videos will be released on YouTube, Facebook and TikTok, in Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. All three countries have accepted large numbers of Ukrainian refugees and their citizens could be vulnerable to misinformation about refugees.

Jigsaw CEO Yasmin Green said the work on prebunking is intended to complement Google's other efforts to reduce the spread of misinformation: "As the scourge of misinformation grows, there's a lot more we can do to provide people with prompts and features that help them stay safe and informed online."

While journalistic fact checks can be effective in debunking a particular piece of misinformation, they're time and labor intensive. By focusing on characteristics of misinformation in general instead of specific claims, pre-bunking videos can help a person spot false claims on a wider variety of topics.

Another method, content moderation by social media companies, can often be inconsistent. While platforms like Facebook and Twitter often remove misinformation that violates their rules, they're also criticized for failing to do more. Other platforms like Telegram or Gab boast a largely hands-off approach to misinformation.

Social media content moderation and journalistic fact checks can also run the risk of alienating those who believe the misinformation. They might also be ignored by people who already distrust legitimate news outlets.

"The word fact checking itself has become politicized," Roozenbeek said.

Pre-bunking videos, however, don't target specific claims, and they make no assertions about what is true or not. Instead, they teach the viewer how false claims work in general — whether it's a claim about elections or NASA's moon landings, or the latest outbreak of the avian flu.

That transferability makes pre-bunking a particularly effective way of confronting misinformation, according to John Cook, a research professor at Australia's Monash University who has created online games that teach ways to spot misinformation.

"We've done enough research to know this can be effective," Cook said. "What we need now is the resources to deploy this at scale."

All contents © copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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TᵢG
Professor Principal
1  TᵢG    one month ago
In a paper published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances, the researchers detail how short online videos that teach basic critical thinking skills can make people better able to resist misinformation.

What the hell, give it a shot!   We certainly have nothing to lose and plenty of upside to gain. 

science-based-critical-thinking.png

 
 
 
Dismayed Patriot
Professor Participates
1.1  Dismayed Patriot  replied to  TᵢG @1    one month ago

1. "I challenge the assumption that facts and reality as the 'MSM' presents them are true!"

2. "I suspend judgement of anyone who is willing to support obvious evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election! Damn you Deep State!"

3. I've revise my conclusion that any liberal, progressive, Democrat, lgtbq or non-conservative Christian should be allowed to live based on the fact that they make fun of us right wing conservative Christians and refuse to do as we tell them!"

4. I'll emphasize my belief in widespread voter fraud and a Godless secular liberal shadow government run by Satanic pedophiles! Fuck the data! It's all fake news!"

5. "Never-ending seems tiresome! I made my mind up as to what was truth in the 5th grade! Who cares if that was the last grade I passed, no one will ever get me to believe in evolution, climate change, that the earth is over 9,000 years old or that our God chosen savior Donald Trump has ever been wrong!".

6. "Democrats haven't cured cancer, paid off the national debt, fixed all racism or turned America into the new Garden of Eden! Their mistakes are absolute! They can never be trusted!"

7. "There is simply no way our Dear Leader Donald lost the 2020 election, the majority of right-wing conservatives definitely voted for him and everyone else isn't really an American so those damn Democrats must have cheated!".

8. "Not many people know this, but it's clear that Democrats are mating with alien lizard species making human-lizard hybrids! It's no wonder you missed it because they secrete an invisible neurotoxin that scrambles the minds of anyone not wearing a tin foil hat!".

Damn, they gave it a shot but still come out firing blanks...

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
1.1.1  Greg Jones  replied to  Dismayed Patriot @1.1    one month ago

Enjoyed  your silly satire, but.....

"challenge the assumption that facts and reality as the 'MSM' presents them are true!"

Always challenge authority and the testimony of so called "experts", whose opinions may be ideologically and politically biased.

 
 
 
Dismayed Patriot
Professor Participates
1.1.2  Dismayed Patriot  replied to  Greg Jones @1.1.1    one month ago
Always challenge authority and the testimony of so called "experts", whose opinions may be ideologically and politically biased.

The same goes for the supposed "authority" of poorly educated right wing conservative "experts" who believe their biased ideological "gut" or religious faith over those who have actually studied science, facts and reality.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
1.1.3  Greg Jones  replied to  Dismayed Patriot @1.1.2    one month ago

There are many more supposedly educated left wing liberals with little knowledge or understanding of science, facts and reality.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
1.2  Greg Jones  replied to  TᵢG @1    one month ago

Good list, and always attempt to obtain as many sources of information as possible to weed out bias and misinformation.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
1.2.1  TᵢG  replied to  Greg Jones @1.2    one month ago

Quality sources with supporting evidence.    But the first step is for the individual to learn how to set aside natural biases and focus objectively on the evidence using sound logic.

 
 
 
Thomas
Sophomore Guide
1.3  Thomas  replied to  TᵢG @1    one month ago

They mentioned games in the article.  I think that everyone can benefit from being able to think critically. Your poster indicates one method that I often use, #7. I call it "Trying it On" .

The whole list should, IMO, be taught as a framework to construct your thoughts upon. 

 
 
 
bccrane
Freshman Silent
1.4  bccrane  replied to  TᵢG @1    one month ago

Ok, I'll give it a shot:  1. I Challenge all the assumptions about climate change, 8. when going back through what came before an Ice Age (3. this evidence is actually old and has been known for some time now) there was always a sea level rise prior to an Ice Age.  Being I live in Michigan, 5. Michiganders know that the warm waters on the Great Lakes early in winter brings on heavier snows and when the lakes freeze over the lake effect lessens meaning that 4. heat is what lifts moisture into the atmosphere to later precipitate out and when this occurs during the colder months it comes down mainly as frozen precipitation.

7. I have looked at other possibilities for Ice Ages, but being they were built upon assumptions, I could not accept them, but 6. the mistake that this man made is now accepted as data to scientists to this day without question.

So, 2. would you be willing to suspend judgement and realize that the next Ice Age is inevitable and we are just witnessing the beginning of the next one.

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
1.4.1  TᵢG  replied to  bccrane @1.4    one month ago
I Challenge all the assumptions about climate change ...

Challenge or reject?    Assumptions or evidence?   There are indeed assumptions made in the scientific models for climate change but these models are also heavily based on quality evidence and our increased understanding of planetary dynamics.

In general, it is misleading to look at local conditions over a very short period of time as a gauge for climate change.   That is akin to predicting the price of a stock 5 years down the road based on fluctuations that occurred in today's trading.   Or, alternatively, it is like judging the likelihood of global warming based on weather patterns (we have had a hot summer ... therefore global warming).

Scientists for decades now have analyzed worldwide changes in temperature (not simply a local area) and greenhouse gases with models based on millions of years (based on data gathered by ice-core samples, etc.).   They are measuring the increasing level of greenhouse gases and modeling the effects of same on our climate.    (For 400,000 years, our CO2 levels have been at or below 300ppm but around 1950 sharply increased and we are now at 400ppm and rising.)   These models help simulate the climate into the future and are validated by simulating prior climate conditions based on known data.  The conclusion is that are accelerated increase in the level of greenhouse gases is causing the planet to radiate less heat into space.   Our planet is heating up.    The causes of greenhouse gases are both natural (e.g. volcanic activity, methane from animals, reduced efficacy of land and ocean carbon sinks, ...) and —importantly— industrial/vehicle emissions.   The anthropogenic factor over the past 200 years has produced greenhouse gases that would have normally taken thousands of years and the effects of greenhouse gases are well established.

That said, albeit briefly, your question:

So, 2. would you be willing to suspend judgement and realize that the next Ice Age is inevitable and we are just witnessing the beginning of the next one.

I do not need to suspend judgement, the facts show that our planet has a cycle of Ice Ages and that we will naturally enter another.   But the scientific models suggest that our increased greenhouse layer could delay the next Ice Age (which is caused by cosmological factors).

But why is that question even asked?   The next Ice Age could, of course, wipe out human beings.   But that is not our immediate concern;  our immediate concern is that we will cause major disruptive changes in our environment by global warming in the near future (within decades) so concerns about the next Ice Age (50,000 to 100,000 years away) are quite premature.

 
 
 
Dismayed Patriot
Professor Participates
1.4.2  Dismayed Patriot  replied to  bccrane @1.4    one month ago
would you be willing to suspend judgement and realize that the next Ice Age is inevitable and we are just witnessing the beginning of the next one.

The fact that global climates change over time has never been denied. The problem with your apparent rejection of "all the assumptions" regarding the climate is that what scientists have found alarming isn't that climates change but that human activity has exponentially sped up this usually slow process. What normally would take hundreds or even thousands of years is happening in just decades. Of course there are always exceptions to the general rules of slow climate change over long periods of time such as meteor impacts, massive volcano eruptions and other natural disasters which can have rapid effects on the climate. All climate scientists are saying is that humans, specifically within the last century, have been as impactful on our climate as a natural disaster.

 
 
 
TOM PA
Freshman Silent
1.5  TOM PA  replied to  TᵢG @1    one month ago

The seven signs of bogus science; 

  • The discoverer pitches the claim directly to the media.
  • The discoverer says that a powerful establishment is trying to suppress his/her work.
  • The scientific effect is always at the very limit of detection.
  • Evidence of the discovery is anecdotal.
  • The discoverer says it is credible because it has endured for centuries.
  • Discoverer has worked in isolation.
  • The discoverer must propose new laws of nature to explain an observation.
 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
1.5.1  TᵢG  replied to  TOM PA @1.5    one month ago

Why, in response to a poster on critical thinking, do you choose to focus on bogus science?

The point was that more people should be taught how to think critically (anyone can do it) and to offer a profile of what 'critical thinking' means.

Your list reads like a start for a cynical argument against science itself.   We all know that bogus science exists and that bogus science is bad.   Do you recognize that proper science (fidelity to the scientific method) is profoundly different from what your list portrays?

 
 
 
TOM PA
Freshman Silent
1.5.2  TOM PA  replied to  TᵢG @1.5.1    one month ago

My point is, that many of these can be applied to claims made by ex-president #45.  Misinformation, slight of hand (language) and scapegoating.  

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
1.5.3  TᵢG  replied to  TOM PA @1.5.2    one month ago

Agreed.    And much to my amazement and disappointment, the application of critical thinking would show clearly that 45 is full of shit and should not be followed as defacto leader of the GoP.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
1.5.4  Greg Jones  replied to  TᵢG @1.5.3    one month ago

The same could be said of Biden and  Kamala.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.5.5  devangelical  replied to  Greg Jones @1.5.4    one month ago

but, but, whatabout...

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Professor Guide
1.5.6  Greg Jones  replied to  devangelical @1.5.5    one month ago

jrSmiley_90_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.5.7  devangelical  replied to  Greg Jones @1.5.6    one month ago

jrSmiley_88_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1.6  Vic Eldred  replied to  TᵢG @1    one month ago

Would any of those "strategies" cause anyone to question former intelligence officials who called the Hunter Biden Laptop story "Russian disinformation?"

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
1.6.1  TᵢG  replied to  Vic Eldred @1.6    one month ago

Why do you ask such an obvious question?

Of course, every mere claim should be challenged to provide corroborating evidence.   So the claim of "Russian disinformation" bears the burden of proof / evidence.   That is, one cannot simply claim "Russian disinformation" and leave it at that.   After all, if there was no burden of proof / evidence people could just claim anything ... like:  'I am the legitimate PotUS; the election was rigged".

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Professor Principal
2  Nerm_L    one month ago

Critical thinking doesn't work when the things to think about are narrowly described and confined.  Compartmentalized thinking doesn't require critical reasoning or logic.  The imposed boundaries serve to direct thought toward conclusions that are as arbitrary as the boundaries.    

For the example of Ukrainian refugees, the arguments have been narrowly described and confined by a response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  The confined argument doesn't allow critical thinking about failures in preventing the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  Or how the Kiev government uses refugees to obtain support after failing to take rather obvious steps to prevent the invasion in the first place.  The Ukraine refugees are only one element of critically thinking about the entire situation.  Yet, the attempt is to confine thinking to that one element which directs thought toward conclusions within that confined element.  That's not critical thinking; that's compartmentalized and directed thinking.

 
 
 
Thomas
Sophomore Guide
2.1  Thomas  replied to  Nerm_L @2    one month ago

OK, Nerm.  What are the " rather obvious steps to prevent the invasion in the first place."?

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Professor Principal
2.1.1  Nerm_L  replied to  Thomas @2.1    one month ago
OK, Nerm.  What are the " rather obvious steps to prevent the invasion in the first place."?

 
 
 
TᵢG
Professor Principal
2.1.2  TᵢG  replied to  Thomas @2.1    one month ago

Probably will get something like:  give Putin whatever he wants.

 
 
 
Thomas
Sophomore Guide
2.1.3  Thomas  replied to  TᵢG @2.1.2    one month ago

And that is basically what I received. 

 
 
 
Thomas
Sophomore Guide
2.1.4  Thomas  replied to  Nerm_L @2.1.1    one month ago

So Russia aka, Putin, stirs up shit, backs separatists in Eastern Ukraine, then (cough cough) uses the pretense of keeping peace to start a war.....

So there we have Nerm's peaceful resolution tactics: Roll over and display obsequiousness towards the bully threatening the country. 

Not exactly the way to maintain control and territorial integrity.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Professor Principal
2.1.5  Nerm_L  replied to  Thomas @2.1.4    one month ago
So Russia aka, Putin, stirs up shit, backs separatists in Eastern Ukraine, then (cough cough) uses the pretense of keeping peace to start a war.....

So there we have Nerm's peaceful resolution tactics: Roll over and display obsequiousness towards the bully threatening the country. 

Not exactly the way to maintain control and territorial integrity.

That's certainly critical but doesn't demonstrate any thinking.  Compartmentalizing the situation does allow ignoring the conflict between Ukraine and Russia over the preceding 12 years.  Selectively establishing the boundaries for consideration makes critical thinking pointless.  

The Minsk agreements of 2014-2015 established a foundation for all parties to obtain their first priority.  Ukraine retained national sovereignty and control over its borders.  The Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts obtained autonomy with limitations.  And Russia obtained security guarantees that Ukraine would remain neutral as were Finland and Sweden.

Russia hasn't been attempting to escalate the situation since 2008; that was Ukraine.  Ukraine has been a provocateur since 2008.  And the United States has been meddling in Ukraine for its own purposes to provoke Russia.

Russia is what it is.  But that's no excuse to turn Ukraine into something it is not.  If the United States wants to fight Russia then fight.  But lying about Ukraine to justify fighting Russia will only create larger intransigent problems in the future.  The United States has committed itself to a prolonged war based upon a lie about Ukraine. 

Ukraine has been poking the bear for 12 years.  So whining about Ukraine being bitten requires compartmentalizing and constraining the boundaries for consideration so that it's impossible to apply critical thinking.  The political requirement is to build a box and prevent people thinking outside that box.  Anyone who does stray outside that box is accused of spreading misinformation.  

 
 
 
Thomas
Sophomore Guide
2.1.6  Thomas  replied to  Nerm_L @2.1.5    one month ago

Talk about compartmentalization. Who do you think instigated the whole conflict in the eastern provinces?

 
 
 
afrayedknot
Freshman Quiet
2.1.7  afrayedknot  replied to  Nerm_L @2.1.5    one month ago

“…makes critical thinking pointless.”

The problem with every single one of your interminable postulations. 

 
 

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