War On Fake News & The Help of Behavioral Science by Gleb Tsipursky

The Pro-Truth Pledge project is an effort from a group of behavioral scientists at the University of Pennsylvania and Ohio State University designed to promote integrity when sharing information on social media.

In a blog post on The Conversation, Gleb Tsipursky, who is a co-founder of the project, discusses the positive impact from a small commitment. The pledge details 12 different behaviors to help steer people to act honestly on social media. Intentional Insights, the nonprofit backing the project, launched the pledge in late 2016 and thousands of people and organizations have committed to it since then. Truth has become a debatable concept, but Tsipursky says the pledge helps to clear up some of that haziness “with clearly observable behaviors, such as fact-checking before sharing, differentiating one’s opinions from the facts and citing sources.”

Tsipursky and his colleagues conducted two different studies on the effectiveness of the pledge, the results of found statistically significant changes in behavior related to vetting and sharing information. The pledge is available to anyone to sign, and could be a good exercise for instructors to go through with their students. 

Sayo Akao is a senior at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communication. As a student worker in the News Co/Lab, Akao is assisting the team to create positive change in news literacy through a variety of different approaches.

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