Misinformation in Human Memory and Social Networks


Misinformation in social networks is considered to have manifold adverse effects on the individuals using them, such as erosion of trust in politicians and traditional media, or reduced adherence to pro-environmental behavior and public health measures in a pandemic situation. Acquiring a better understanding of how misinformation diffuses through a social network and what can be effective countermeasures therefore seems necessary. However, relatively little is known about the effects which specific countermeasures social media platforms can implement (e.g., fact-checking or post-deletion) can have on the spread of misinformation. In a recently published work, our group has yielded first but preliminary evidence about the effectiveness and sufficiency of such countermeasures in containing the spread of misinformation in social networks. Future work on this subject will uncover the role of memory in misinformation consolidation and will reveal how effective specific countermeasures can contain the spread of misinformation in social networks.


Selected Relevant Publications

Kauk, J., Kreysa, H., Voigt, A., & Schweinberger, S.R. & (2022). #flattenthecurve: Wie begrenzen wir die Welle von Falschinformationen und Verschwörungs­erzählungen in digitalen sozialen Netzwerken? In: F. Hessel, P. Chakkarath, and M. Luy (Eds.): Verschwörungsdenken. Zwischen Populärkultur und politischer Mobilisierung. (pp. 259-279).  Gießen: Psychosozial-Verlag.

Kauk, J., Kreysa, H., & Schweinberger, S.R. (2021). Understanding and countering the spread of conspiracy theories in social networks: Evidence from epidemiological models of Twitter data. PLoS One, 16(8), e0256179. (Link to PDF)