How do we interact with misinformation? Part 1

An empirical user research questionnaire about how we interact with social media platforms and false or misleading content. Furthermore how the design influences us and if labeling content is helpful?

In 2018 the European Union did a survey on “The digital transformation of news media and the rise of disinformation and fake news”. In this report they stated that misinformation or fake news is pretty old. The first known case of fake news goes back to the 16th century. However, this may be an argument for some people, it is clear by now that social media and the spread of fake news and misinformation have become a problem. First of all we need to define some wordings:


Falsity refers to inconsistency in claimed facts (Spears, 2015), for instance, when a car manufacture claims that the car’s gas mileage is higher than it actually is.


Some content creates an impression about a product, a story or news that is untrue (fake) or about features, information or facts that do not exist.

Misleading and false content affects the choices of users and their opinions.

The Questionnaire

In this phase of the research some personal qualitativ interviews based on a standardized questionnaire with a few participants will be conducted and analyzed. The main interest of this survey is how people interact with fake or misleading information and how we can change the apperance or interaction process through design. Therefore the following questions will be asked:

  1. Demographic data like gender, age, education level, employment and family status.
  2. Where do you usually watch/read news or get information on certain topics?
  3. Which social media platforms do you use?
  4. How often do you visit these platforms daily/weekly/monthly?
  5. Have you ever experienced misleading content on these platforms? If so, please elaborate.
  6. How do you interact with misleading or false content? Please elaborate.
  7. What is your reaction when you find out the content you found is misleading or false?
  8. What do you think about labeled content?
  9. Which additional (background) information of a statement/fact is important to be shown directly for you as a viewer?
  10. What makes a website/content/information trustworthy?
  11. How trustworthy is social media in your personal opinion and why? (Scale 1 – 10)
  12. Do you think the design of information or content has an effect? If so, please elaborate.
  13. Do you want do add something?


(PDF) Impact of misleading/false advertisement to consumer behaviour. International Journal of Economics and Business Research, 2018 Vol.16 No.4, pp.453 – 465. Available from: [accessed Dec 20 2020].

Study on fake news and disinformation from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre.