University of Oulu

Persuading users into verifying online fake news

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Author: Shahriar, Md.1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, Department of Information Processing Science, Information Processing Science
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1 MB)
Pages: 60
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : M. Shahriar, 2019
Publish Date: 2019-06-24
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Oinas-Kukkonen, Harri
Reviewer: Oinas-Kukkonen, Harri
Tikka, Piiastiina


Checking authenticity of fake news before sharing online can reduce spread of misinformation. But fact-checking requires cognitive and psychological effort, which people are often not willing to give. Some fact-checking methods might even be counterproductive, entrenching people into their deeply held beliefs. Numerous online fact-checking services have emerged recently which verify false claims to address the issue. While these services are quite efficient technologically, they seriously overlook human behavioral factors associated with fake news.

Persuasive systems have been proven successful in attitudinal and behavioral changes, which could be applied here as behavioral interventions for fact-checking. A review of current fact-checking services showed that they significantly lack persuasive features, resulting in a passive and linear user experience. Findings from cognitive science and persuasion literature paved way for development of a fact-checking mobile application that would encourage users into regular fact-checking.

Qualitative and quantitative evaluation of the artifact showed promise of persuasion in combating fake news. Social support persuasive features were found most effective, followed by tunnelling and self-monitoring. Implications of these findings and future research directions are discussed.

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Copyright information: © Md. Shahriar, 2019. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.