Moving the Needle on Uncertainty: The Role of Trusted Messengers in Countering Disinformation

  • Reducing uncertainty about the veracity of the original false claim
  • Increasing belief that the original false claim was false
  • Lowering belief that the original false claim was true

The Key Takeaways

Messenger Effects

Note: This Sankey chart shows the messenger’s effectiveness at moving people from where they were before watching the videos (on the left) to where they were after watching the videos (on the right).

Recommendations

Though there is much more to explore when it comes to trusted messengers and disinformation, this test’s findings can serve to complement Latino-serving grassroots organizations’ existing strategies for countering disinformation. In particular, these findings suggest organizations would benefit from:

  1. Harnessing the voices of journalists in engagement strategies by:
    a. Prioritizing promoting positive news stories from journalists
    b. Amplifying coverage done by trusted local journalists and community journalists
  2. Helping journalists to approach coverage in ways that emphasize “prebunking” disinformation narratives or “explaining” tough issues relevant to Latino audiences
  3. Using messengers from organizations and/or people from the community as a way to supplement the news promotion strategy
  4. Finding and sticking to a lane — continuing to focus on filling information voids with “good messaging,” and assuring that you and your fact-based, contextualized messaging are present where Latinos consume information (YouTube, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram).

Future Tests

The findings of this trusted messenger test are only the beginning of what is out there to understand about trusted messengers’ roles in countering disinformation.

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Equis Research

Equis Research

Creating a better understanding of the Latino electorate