Workshop Proceedings of the 18th International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media

Workshop: Data for the Wellbeing of Most Vulnerable

DOI: 10.36190/2024.24

Published: 2024-06-01
Online search is more likely to lead youth to validate true news than to refute false ones
Azza Bouleimen, Luca Luceri, Felipe Cardoso, Luca Botturi, Martin Hermida, Loredana Addimando, Chiara Beretta, Marzia Galloni, Silvia Giordano

With the spread of high-speed Internet and portable smart devices, the way people access and consume information has drastically changed. However, this presents many challenges, including information overload, personal data leakage, and misinformation diffusion. Across the spectrum of risks that Internet users face nowadays, this work focuses on understanding how young people perceive and deal with false information. Within an experimental campaign involving 183 students, we presented six different news items to the participants and invited them to browse the Internet to assess the veracity of the presented information. Our results suggest that online search is more likely to lead students to validate true news than to refute false ones. We found that students change their opinion about a specific piece of information more often than their global idea about a broader topic. Also, our experiment reflected that most participants rely on online sources to obtain information and access the news, and those getting information from books and Internet browsing are the most accurate in assessing the veracity of a news item. This work provides a principled understanding of how young people perceive and distinguish true and false pieces of information, identifying strengths and weaknesses amidst young subjects and contributing to building tailored digital information literacy strategies for youth.