How can we combat online misinformation? A systematic overview of current interventions and their efficacy

by   Pica Johansson, et al.

The spread of misinformation is a pressing global problem that has elicited a range of responses from researchers, policymakers, civil society and industry. Over the past decade, these stakeholders have developed many interventions to tackle misinformation that vary across factors such as which effects of misinformation they hope to target, at what stage in the misinformation lifecycle they are aimed at, and who they are implemented by. These interventions also differ in how effective they are at reducing susceptibility to (and curbing the spread of) misinformation. In recent years, a vast amount of scholarly work on misinformation has become available, which extends across multiple disciplines and methodologies. It has become increasingly difficult to comprehensively map all of the available interventions, assess their efficacy, and understand the challenges, opportunities and tradeoffs associated with using them. Few papers have systematically assessed and compared the various interventions, which has led to a lack of understanding in civic and policymaking discourses. With this in mind, we develop a new hierarchical framework for understanding interventions against misinformation online. The framework comprises three key elements: Interventions that Prepare people to be less susceptible; Interventions that Curb the spread and effects of misinformation; and Interventions that Respond to misinformation. We outline how different interventions are thought to work, categorise them, and summarise the available evidence on their efficacy; offering researchers, policymakers and practitioners working to combat online misinformation both an analytical framework that they can use to understand and evaluate different interventions (and which could be extended to address new interventions that we do not describe here) and a summary of the range of interventions that have been proposed to date.


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