The (Mis)Information Game: A social media simulator

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Given the potential negative impact reliance on misinformation can have, substantial effort has gone into understanding the factors that influence misinformation belief and propagation. However, despite the rise of social media often being cited as a fundamental driver of misinformation exposure and false beliefs, how people process misinformation on social media platforms has been under-investigated. This is partially due to a lack of adaptable and ecologically valid social media testing paradigms, resulting in an over-reliance on survey software and questionnaire-based measures. To provide researchers with a flexible tool to investigate the processing and sharing of misinformation on social media, this paper presents The Misinformation Game—an easily adaptable, open-source online testing platform that simulates key characteristics of social media. Researchers can customize posts (e.g., headlines, images), source information (e.g., handles, avatars, credibility), and engagement information (e.g., a post’s number of likes and dislikes). The platform allows a range of response options for participants (like, share, dislike, flag) and supports comments. The simulator can also present posts on individual pages or in a scrollable feed, and can provide customized dynamic feedback to participants via changes to their follower count and credibility score, based on how they interact with each post. Notably, no specific programming skills are required to create studies using the simulator. Here, we outline the key features of the simulator and provide a non-technical guide for use by researchers. We also present results from two validation studies. All the source code and instructions are freely available online at https://misinfogame.com.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2376-2397
Number of pages22
JournalBehavior Research Methods
Volume56
Issue number3
Early online date11 Jul 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024

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