Social media reward system has influence on users

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Social media platforms are structured to reward users for posting eye-catching material, whether correct or damaging.

This has the potential to disseminate disinformation and other dangerous things. However, according to Ian Anderson, Gizem Ceyland, and Wendy Wood’s study, it is feasible to adjust the social media reward system to encourage users to provide correct information.

The researchers ran a trial in which they paid certain users for spreading factual news rather than falsehoods. They discovered that people who received rewards shared considerably more accurate material than those who did not. Surprisingly, even when the prizes were eliminated, these people continued to provide correct material. This demonstrates that users may be given incentives to share accurate information as a habit.

The researchers also discovered that people who got rewards for spreading misinformation shared the same quantity of attention-grabbing content as those who did not. This implies that social media networks incentivize users to publish attention-grabbing items, whether correct or harmful.

Another issue to be concerned about is the spread of disinformation through regular sharing. For example, internal Facebook research shows that allowing content to be reshared with a single click dramatically increases disinformation. A fraction of views on both textual and picture disinformation are derived from content that has been reshared several times. Notable misinformation sites take use of the platform’s popularity optimization to spread controversy and unverified material beyond their immediate audience.

The sources for this piece include an article in Niemanlab.

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