In Bad News, you take on the role of fake news-monger. Drop all pretense of ethics and choose a path that builds your persona as an unscrupulous media magnate. But keep an eye on your ‘followers’ and ‘credibility’ meters. Your task is to get as many followers as you can while slowly building up fake credibility as a news site. But watch out: you lose if you tell obvious lies or disappoint your supporters!
You can play Bad News in English right here, but also in Czech, Dutch, German, Greek, Esperanto, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovenian, Swedish and Ukrainian. We also created versions for Bosnia and Moldova.
In a series of scientific studies into the effectiveness of Bad News as a psychological inoculation tool, we found that playing the game reduces the perceived reliability of misinformation (even if study participants had never seen the misinformation before), and increases people’s confidence in their ability to assess the reliability of misinformation on their feed. We also found that similar effects are conferred across cultures and languages. In terms of the longevity of the observed inoculation effects, we found that people remained significantly better at spotting manipulation techniques in social media content for at least one week after playing Bad News. This “cognitive immunity” lasted up to three months when participants were assessed at regular intervals each week.
Our inoculation games were designed as part of a collaboration between DROG, Gusmanson Design and Cambridge University. We created these games to improve people’s ability to spot common manipulation techniques such as trolling and creating conspiracy theories out of thin air. So far, we’ve launched three different games, each of which covers a different domain of misinformation: Bad News (about online “fake news”), Harmony Square (about political disinformation and intergroup polarization), and Go Viral! (about COVID-19 misinformation). More games are currently in development. This page will be updated as soon as they are publicly available.
All our inoculation intervention games were developed by Bad News, serious gaming development studio, a 100% subsidiary of DROG