Fact-checking warning labels do have an effect on climate change fake news credibility and engagement on social media
Timo K. Koch, Lena Frischlich and Eva Lermer’s experimental study found that warning labels reduced the perceived credibility of a fake news post exaggerating the consequences of climate change. Warning labels also lowered the (self-reported) likelihood to amplify fake news. Removing social endorsement cues like views, likes or shares did not have an effect.
The study featured a mock Facebook feed, in which the fake news post about the probability of a “White Christmas” in Central Europe dropping below 5% because of global warming was embedded. Participants either saw the post with or without warning labels and with or without social engagement cues like shares or views. They then had to answer questions about whether or not they believed in the message of the post, how credible they found it to be, and they had to rate their self-estimated likelihood to engage with that post. Their analytical thinking was also measured because the heuristic-systematic model of information processing (HSM) was used as the theoretical framework for the experiment. There is the systematic system, which evaluates information carefully and with the intention to thoroughly understand any available information. The heuristic system describes conditions under which easily comprehended cues are used as shortcuts for opinion formation. Previous research has found that a more systematic elaboration is associated with a lower susceptibility to fake news.
The full study can be accessed here: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jasp.12959