The initial steps of study included:
- Getting approval from an Institutional Review Board for the experiment.
- Testing our prototyping payment from one payment pointer to another using the Rafiki Test Net Developed platform to conduct the comparative study.
- Recruiting Users for our study via our community networks and Ads on Facebook and Twitter
- Creating and piloting tested content that is to be shared on the app
- Starting the data collection process
- Drafting an academic pre-registration for the study and hosting it on OSF (Open Science Framework)
After surveying past literature in the field, we began drafting the manuscript for academic publication. This was simultaneously done with the analysis of our collected data which included running codes on RStudio and STATA. We interpreted the results and reported the same in the manuscript.
One of the roadblocks we faced during the course of the study was not having enough people pass the inclusion criteria. Despite this we crossed our initial goal of studying 790 users. Out of the 2464 participants who filled out the initial onboarding survey, data from 908 of them could be retained because the others did not pass our inclusion criteria (being at least 18 years of age, an Indian citizen, passing the attention checks, and completing all 3 days of the experiment).
We also briefly faced some payment snags with razor pay which we were able to resolve in time. Despite the hiccups, we managed to successfully complete the study and are now looking to send our manuscript to a journal for publication.
Our proposal outlined the following objectives:
- To understand whether and how web monetization technologies can incentivize people to share accurate information.
- To understand whether there are differences between social incentives and financial incentives when choosing to share information
Results showed that incentivization, regardless of the type, encouraged people to share more true information although they also indicated that the type of incentive (monetary or social) did not influence the participants’ sharing-behavior on the platform. Although we did not achieve the result we were expecting, we discovered interesting insights on how people react to posts using emojis and how certain individual characteristics influenced their engagement with posts. The results show that people with conservative political beliefs were more likely to react to posts (using the happy, sad, and/or disgust emojis). Men and women did not differ in their sharing-behavior; however, in terms of age, older individuals were more likely to share posts than younger participants. One’s political ideology was also related to sharing of true, plausible, implausible, and wholesome posts, as well as whether they chose to ‘read more’ about a given post. We also found that individuals who ‘read more’ about a post are more likely to share it.
Results from the follow-up survey (conducted after the participants completed all 3 days of the study) showed that individuals spent time contemplating the posts shown to them (over the 3 days) and also thought about the consequences to their friends/family and others, and people they disliked, if the messages were true. On average, the individuals in both social and financial incentivised groups were aware of how they gained and lost their followers/money. However, it was interesting to note that more individuals from the social incentive group thought about their incentives (gaining/losing followers) while sharing messages than from the financial group (gaining/losing money).
- We published a blog on Tattle which talked about the process of content creation for the Meshi Platform for this study.
- We published a second blog on Psychology Today’s non-WEIRD Science platform which talked about the motives behind people’s information-sharing behavior.
- We completed drafting the literature review for the manuscript.
- We successfully ran the analysis on data from 908 participants.
- We interpreted the results and reported them in the manuscript.
- A preprint of the manuscript has been uploaded on the PsyArxiv
We were actively recruiting participants for the experiment via social media channels and had been boosting posts as well.
A sample post on Twitter can be seen here
Posts about the two published blogs were made on our social media platforms.
Link to the blog published on Tattle: https://tattle.co.in/blog/content-creation-for-the-meshi-information-sharing-experiment
Link to the blog published on Psychology Today’s non-WEIRD Science: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/non-weird-science/202210/do-you-share-because-you-care
We have also uploaded our manuscript as a pre-print on PsyArXiv: https://psyarxiv.com/nykxz
We aim to send our manuscript to Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review for publication.
We aim to continue to do this kind of research on incentives and content creation/sharing. Anybody who is interested in this research area/scope or just keen on getting to know more about this field or willing to support us in any other way can contact us.