Teams from the Universities of Liverpool and Dundee have launched a chatbot enabled website to help improve people’s ability to spot semi-fake news.
They said the Fake News Immunity Chatbot draws on the work of some of philosophy’s greatest critical thinkers, such as Aristotle, Socrates and Gorgias, introducing users to their rhetorical strategies, or fallacies, at the same time as testing susceptibility to a selection of fake and semi-fake news items.
It works as a quiz-like game focused on misinformation about Covid-19, and has three levels has three levels – credulous, skeptic and agnostic – with users competing to pick up points shaped as gadflies.
Project leader Dr Elena Musi, from the University of Liverpool’s Department of Communication and Media, said: “This is the first attempt to leverage human computer interaction to try and help the public acquire the skills needed to recognise the grey area of misinformation.
“Our chatbot is unique as it allows people to play and be trained by the greatest thinkers and become their own fact-checkers. You can play by yourself or encourage family, friends or colleagues to join in so you can quiz each other.
“Learning together and helping each other to understand how news is produced for different purposes provides the necessary skills needed to flag misleading content in our news feeds.”
She added: We hope that with our chatbot, people will develop critical thinking that strengthens their digital literacy and helps them and their communities to become more resilient to information manipulation.
“Acquiring critical digital literacy collectively can help us build a healthier, stronger and smarter democracy.”
Development of the chatbot has been funded as part of UK Research and Innovation’s 'Being Alone Together: Building Fake News Immunity' project.
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