Study highlights selective avoidance of articles that fact-check fake news

An experiment in Japan has shown that about 40 percent of people who believe misinformation have a tendency to selectively avoid fact-checking articles.

The study was carried out by a group led by Associate Professor Tanaka Yuko of the Nagoya Institute of Technology.

The experiment involved 506 people in their 20s to 60s who believed false information.

They were shown both false and fact-based news articles on coronavirus vaccines and mortality rates, and asked which stories they thought were accurate.

Those who said they believed the false news were shown a list of links for fact-checking articles.

The experiment revealed 43 percent of them selectively avoided clicking links that provided verified facts to rebut the false claims they thought were accurate. They clicked only seven percent of the fact-checking articles.

Tanaka says some people choose to avoid fact-checking articles when they are told that they would debunk their mistaken beliefs.

She says further studies on the reasons behind such behavior could help determine the best methods to provide verified information.

Results of the experiment have been published in the Proceedings of the 2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.