Find Out About Fake News With This Web Game

In the 10-minute online game Bad News , developed by Cambridge social psychology professor Sander van der Linden, you play an insidious conspiracy theorist who spreads fake news. The point, van der Linden told the Fast Company , is to teach people how to create and spread misinformation.

The game is not quite a complete media literacy course, but it demonstrates the basic principles of disinformation. To gain followers and credibility, and win the game, you must choose misinformation wisely and package it believably. Bad news rewards you for doing things like disproportionately blowing up real-life incidents and exploiting existing biases. It also hints at how our “two-way” media machine allows attackers to turn little popularity into undeserved “trust.”

For more detailed explanations of disinformation tactics such as polarizing, using emotions, and discrediting opponents, read the game’s info sheet (Google Drive link).

Before and after the game, you can take a short and entertaining quiz about your ability to detect fake tweets. By submitting your answers, you are participating in van der Linden’s research, so he can (hopefully) adapt the game to make it more effective. So spend some time on science.

Bad news | Sander van der Linden


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