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Social costs beat the truth

Curtailing Fake News means to bring back sharers from isolation




There is one key reason why Fake News are shared on Social Media: because one is being kicked out, not contacted anymore or blocked by the community as quickly as if you have posted the truth. Conservative groups are even faster in doing that than liberal ones, smaller groups more consequent than bigger ones. Hence Fake News are primarily shared by people who fear the virtual isolation = people whose self esteem is dependent from being group member in the internet. This is at least the converse conclusion being the resume in an international research project (Duke University, INSEAD, IIT Delhi) where 100.000 tweets have been recorded and been analysed within six studies.

The scientists recommend therefore to consider this emotional aspect in the fight against Fake News unconditionally.

Lawson/Anand/Kakkar, „Tribalism and Tribulation: The Social Costs of Not Sharing Fake News”, in: Journal of Experimental Psychology: General”, 2023, vol. 152, no. 3, 611-631.


From the practice:

This is my moment of proceeding: according to these new insights we ought to strengthen the resistance against Fake News not only rationally with dates, facts and figures, but even more with strategies focused on emotions.

What could this mean for you as leaders?

  1. To put more attentiveness and more time into personal break outs with employees
  2. To create more positive We-experiences in the job and in corporate activities (environment, social, sports, culture) and 3. To be more than ever role model – by being transparent and promoting not dull, but differentiated communication.

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