You Won't Believe Our Results! But They Might: Heterogeneity in Beliefs About the Accuracy of Online Media

Mario Luca, Kevin Munger, Jonathan Nagler, Joshua Tucker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Clickbait media has long been espoused as an unfortunate consequence of the rise of digital journalism. But little is known about why readers choose to read clickbait stories. Is it merely curiosity, or might voters think such stories are more likely to provide useful information? We conduct a survey experiment in Italy, where a major political party enthusiastically embraced the esthetics of new media and encouraged their supporters to distrust legacy outlets in favor of online news. We offer respondents a monetary incentive for correct answers to manipulate the relative salience of the motivation for accurate information. This incentive increases differences in the preference for clickbait; older and less educated subjects become even more likely to opt to read a story with a clickbait headline when the incentive to produce a factually correct answer is higher. Our model suggests that a politically relevant subset of the population prefers Clickbait Media because they trust it more.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-277
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Experimental Political Science
Volume9
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 20 2022

Keywords

  • Clickbait
  • digital literacy
  • financially-motivated lab experiment
  • Italy
  • media choice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'You Won't Believe Our Results! But They Might: Heterogeneity in Beliefs About the Accuracy of Online Media'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this