Published on Tue Jul 06 2021

Countering Misinformation on Social Media Through Educational Interventions: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in Pakistan

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Fake news is a growing problem in developing countries with potentially far-reaching consequences. We conduct a randomized experiment in urban Pakistan to evaluate the effectiveness of two educational interventions to counter misinformation among low-digital literacy populations. We do not find a significant effect of video-based general educational messages about misinformation. However, when such messages are augmented with personalized feedback based on individuals' past engagement with fake news, we find an improvement of 0.14 standard deviations in identifying fake news. We also find negative but insignificant effects on identifying true news, driven by female respondents. Our results suggest that educational interventions can enable information discernment but their effectiveness critically depends on how well their features and delivery are customized for the population of interest.

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