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Fake News on Social Media

Photo of a man on a tablet with a coffee and book on a table

The fake news project design encompasses two primary components, believability and interventions. Leveraging the neurophysiological instrumentation at the MDTRC lab, experiments monitor eye movement, electroencephalography (EEG) activity, and facial expressions to quantify decision making patterns. Participants are presented with fabricated news headlines, in the format of the Facebook news feed, and instructed to rate if they believe the headline to be true on a 4-point scale. The effectiveness of intervention strategies, such as flagging or fake news education, is an additional research interest and has been explored through various alterations to the experimental design. 

The intended contribution of the project is two-fold, extending the literatures understanding of individual behaviour patterns regarding fake news and industry application for combatting fake news on social media platforms. Current research tends to assess believability based on demographics and other external features, whereas this research attempts to understand the cognitive decision-making process at the individual level. Additionally, our intervention research has significant contributions to industry. Social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, require effective intervention strategies to minimize the propagation of fake news within their networks.