Discussion paper

DP14738 Checking and Sharing Alt-Facts

Using a randomized experiment in the context of the 2019 European elections in France, we study how fact-checking affects real sharing of “alternative facts” (false or misleading statements by politicians) on Facebook and the determinants of the decision to view the factchecking.
We expose over 4200 voting-age French to statements on the role of the EU made by the extreme-right party Rassemblement National. A randomly selected subset of participants was exposed to fact-checking of these statements while another randomly selected subset was
offered a choice whether to view the fact-checking or not. Then, all participants were offered an opportunity to share alternative facts on their Facebook pages. Those who saw fact-checking information could also share it on Facebook. We show that: (i) both imposed and voluntary
fact-checking reduces sharing of alternative facts by more than 25%; (ii) the size of the treatment effect is similar between these two treatments; and (iii) each additional click required to share alternative facts reduces sharing by 75%.

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Citation

Henry, E, E Zhuravskaya and S Guriev (eds) (2020), “DP14738 Checking and Sharing Alt-Facts”, CEPR Press Discussion Paper No. 14738. https://cepr.org/publications/dp14738