This free online game claims to "inoculate" you against disinformation by teaching you how it works

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/11/19/this-free-online-game-claims-to-inoculate-you-against-disinformation-by-teaching-you-how-it-works.html

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Oh yes, I’d seen that on Cambridge’s science newsletter and even played it for a while over the past weekend. Not a bad game and certainly something we need to teach people more about.

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I’d frankly be scared to share this game with my most crazed MAGA relatives, for fear that they’d take the wrong lessons away from it.

You can’t win with those idiots. They’ll take the wrong lessons away from any and every social interaction, political message, evidence-based science or anything else. It’s what they’ve been programmed to do and it will take more than a 10-minute ‘game’ for them to get even half-way to de-programmed.

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Valid, but I do think for most people this would be either neutral or slightly positive. The hard part is getting people to realize and accept that this is actually a thing at all, which is surprisingly non-obvious and hard to internalize.

Similarly, I try to innoculate myself against bad arguments with funny and ridiculous but somehow still persuasive fictional ones. Examples from one author: https://unsongbook.com/interlude-מ-miss-american-pie/ and https://slatestarcodex.com/2017/12/26/a-history-of-the-silmarils-in-the-fifth-age/

Also: there’s something almost Lovecraftian about the complete denial of reality that tactics like this embrace. To paraphrase Terry Pratchett from The Colour of Magic: it’s the other side of the coin on which truth and lies are just one face.

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I don’t know this project, but the approach tracks with a body of work in this field. Society does a bit of work with high school students around civics - the idea is that we’re teaching people the skills needed to function as a democracy. It seems likely that education on disinformation will become part of that standard everyone-should-know-this-stuff life skills package. This would be an early attempt.

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The double edged sword to this is it’s also a howto on spreading disinformation. The game even seems to teach it.

One could argue that bad actors already know this stuff, but I’ll argue that it’s the competent bad actors that know it, and this is teaching some incompetent people to be better at how the spread disinformation.

Not that I’m arguing against the game. It’ll just make disinformation N+1 dimensional chess.

As for prebunking, sure. Make someone aware of the faults in something before they buy into it because otherwise they would have to admit they were wrong, which they’ll fight against or dig their heels in.