The spread of online misinformation poses serious challenges to societies worldwide. There are multiple ways to fight against the spread of fake news and disinformation and serious video games are one of the developing and fascinating tools to raise awareness of the harm of disinformation and combat the malign influence online. The Digital Communication Network is designing another thematic series of events titled “Serious Games Against Disinformation” to highlight the importance of the game industry focusing on social issues. Through our partners and experts from all over the globe, we will be discussing different approaches towards the games in various geographies, as well as looking at case studies of certain games which promote digital and media literacy.
Key points by Ioanna Georgia Eskiadi
Latin America is a place where disinformation is transmitted through a variety of channels, but games are changing the current situation. Video games have been developed as fascinating tools to raise awareness of the harm of disinformation and combat malign influences online. The spread of online misinformation poses serious challenges to societies worldwide. The “pandemic” of fake news is a situation that generated confusion within the population and has influenced some statements by public figures and politicians, which have in turn led to further repercussions on public opinion. The disinformation from Guatemala’s, El Salvador’s and Honduras’ presidents have increased. People need a vaccine for disinformation and fake news and, in this case, it is video games.
La Doble Tracción, is a great example on how to fight disinformation through games, focusing on producing news with gamification and humor. The main aim is to battle news phobia in Latin America. News phobia refers to one being repulsed or intimidated by the news. “We have to take care of people’s information needs through their own tastes and preferences,” said Ernesto Núñez Chacón. There are multiple ways to achieve the gamification of journalism. One example is a game show where young people are engaged by creating insights of audience’s behavior. Another example is the creation of a platform of games that will trigger the interests of the audience to play and learn while taking part in quizzes. When discussing fast process changes, an obstacle in the development of games, the determined solution is gamified trackers, the elements that you see in the game that help you track the problem. Another tool is “get together debates” where people with different political views gather to discuss current issues. Through games, people can get involved through an active process of information consumption. In gamification one must get rid of their insecurities and if something is popular in an audience, that may be the topic in which to develop a game around.
“Getting informed is like homework and nobody likes doing homework”.
In Chile, everyone can be the subject, or perpetrator, of disinformation. Disinformation is disseminated more quickly surrounding social events. Chilean developers have determined that people shifted their preferred messaging system to What’s app, since they can more easily communicate in their channels and feel as though they have more privacy. One strategy in Chile aims to raise awareness about disinformation through workshops by engaging with community leaders to train them to understand and detect disinformation. This strategy offers supporting video and written material for the community leaders to be able to spread the word in their communities and create a fact-checking platform where everyone can flag suspicious messages coming from WhatsApp, newspapers, Email, etc. The overall aim is to give citizens the tools to think critically about what they hear and see on a daily basis.
Watch the discussion:
- Ernesto Núñez Chacón, Founder & Director of La Doble Tracción, Costa Rica
- Eva Sofía Muñoz, Journalist, Honduras
- Felix Staicu, co-founder of Cyber Dacians and the co-founder of Intel4Patriam, Chile
Nikos Panagiotou, Associate Professor, Head of DCN Global, Greece
Ernesto Núñez Chacón
If Clark Kent had a son with Don Draper from “Mad Men”, and their son was such a loser that he didn’t inherit superpowers, that would be Ernie. He is as incisive a journalist as Superman’s heat vision, as daring a creative as Draper’s sexcapades, and has a sense of humor as acid as the reflux that many politicians provoke in him. He is the founder and director of La Doble Tracción, a transmedia news outlet that since 2014 offers young people a journalistic mix of investigation, humor, and gamification in the form of TV game shows, radio theatre, jingles, videogames, parties, personality quizzes, remixes, comics, toys, and more. Its projects have been awarded by the Global Alliance for Citizen Participation, the U.S. Department of State, and Costa Rica’s Ministry of Culture. In addition to its radio show and citizen-driven local newsroom network, La Doble Tracción currently runs “Debates Relámpago (Lightning Debates)”, a debate club where citizens and politicians discuss in a Tinder-like form. Ernie is currently developing “The Shitdetector”, a platform that checks whether a news piece meets journalistic standards or is a piece of shit, and “Relics of the Present Future”, a gamified exhibition to raise awareness about how climate change threatens to change reality.
Eva Sofía Muñoz
A young Honduran journalist whose main interest is that justice prevails in society and that young people become interested in issues related to poverty, inequality and politics.
Felix Staicu is the co-founder of Cyber Dacians a Romanian cybersecurity company and the co-founder of Intel4Patriam an NGO specialized in the fight against disinformation. He holds a Master in International Security and currently resides in Chile, where he is designing a national anti-disinformation program.
This event is co-organized by Digital Communication Network and World Learning and is part of DCNSEE’s Ideas in Action — Digital Engagement, a series of virtual events launched in the context of the COVID-19 crisis.
DCN is supported by the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Citizen Exchanges. Digital Communication Network created in 2015, is a 7.000 member strong collaborative network that connects professionals from a variety of fields and different regions of the world, committed to have an impact in the new information space.