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Policy

This video game wants to be a fake-news vaccine

February 20, 2018

By building up pretend propaganda empires, can we learn how news is weaponized against us?

The game: Players of the new video game Bad News, which has been built by a team of academics and journalists, must win social-media fans, bend the truth, and divide nations, all while attempting to maintain credibility among their readers. It’s free to play; give it a try.

The goal: “Once you’ve seen the tactics, and used them in the game, you build up resistance,” Sander van der Linden, one of the academics involved inthe project, told the Guardian. “We want the public to learn what these people are doing by walking in their shoes.”

And more seriously: The game is also a research project. Data about how people play and react to their successes may inspire new ways to help researchers fight fake news in the future. And don’t we need ’em.

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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