Social media comments are just as effective at correcting health misinformation as algorithms
This study measures the extent to which algorithms and comments on Facebook that link to fact checks can effectively correct users' misconceptions about health news. Researchers tested this by exposing 613 survey participants to simulated news feeds with three condition. Participants were shown misinformation about the Zika virus and different corrective news stories either surfaced by algorithm or posted by another Facebook user. The experimental results found that algorithmic and social distribution of fact checks were equally effective in limiting participants' misperceptions — even for people who are more inclined to believe conspiracy theories. Researchers conclude that this is likely because breaking health news events often deal with new phenomena, which allows for great receptivity to comments and the possibility of opinion change among news consumers early on.