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Leading UX in Bangladesh

Unraveling Misinformation in Bangladesh: Perceptions, Impacts, and Strategies for Mitigation

Abu MD Ehsan, Wahid bin Ahsan                                                             

Department of Human-centered Design
Userhub, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Abstract

This mixed-methods study investigates the dynamics of misinformation in Bangladesh, analyzing public perceptions, dissemination methods, impacts, and potential interventions. Engaging with professionals in journalism, mass communication, and fact-checking, the research offers a multifaceted view of misinformation’s societal implications. Key findings reveal the substantial influence of misinformation on public opinion and behavior, underscoring the urgent need for targeted mitigation strategies. The study advocates enhancing media literacy and bolstering fact-checking initiatives, promoting collaborative efforts across various sectors. This research contributes valuable insights into the intricacies of misinformation in Bangladesh, presenting practical solutions for combating this pressing issue.

Keywords: Misinformation, Bangladesh, Public Perception, Media Literacy, Fact-Checking, Social Media, Impact Analysis, Mixed-Methods Research.

Introduction

In the digital age, misinformation has emerged as a global challenge, transcending borders and impacting various aspects of society, including public health, political stability, and social harmony. The rise of digital media, marked by global media consumption patterns, has significantly influenced the spread and impact of misinformation (Baptista & Gradim, 2020; Altay et al., 2023). In Bangladesh, a nation experiencing rapid digitalization and growing social media use, this phenomenon presents distinct challenges. This study aims to delve into the intricacies of misinformation in Bangladesh, exploring its origins, transmission modes, and societal impact from local social media users’ perspectives. By providing a comprehensive analysis of these elements, this report seeks to offer insights into potential strategies for combating misinformation in Bangladesh, aligning with global efforts to curb its spread and mitigate its effects.

Background

The phenomenon of misinformation, especially in the context of digital media, has been studied extensively worldwide, shedding light on its intricate dynamics. In Bangladesh, the digital landscape is no different, with misinformation presenting multifaceted challenges that resonate with global trends. For instance, studies like Rashid, Hossain, & Kabir (2022) indicate a transition in media consumption patterns, with a shift from traditional to digital platforms, paralleling global trends in news consumption (Baptista & Gradim, 2020). This shift significantly impacts how misinformation is disseminated and perceived. Additionally, the role of digital disinformation in exacerbating communal tensions and violence in Bangladesh (Al-Zaman, 2019) mirrors global concerns about the societal impacts of misinformation.

Moreover, Bangladesh’s struggle with online misinformation reflects a broader challenge in the Global South, emphasizing the need for a nuanced approach in addressing this issue (Haque et al., 2020). The influence of cultural and demographic factors on the spread and reception of misinformation (Kaur et al., 2018) suggests that strategies to combat misinformation in Bangladesh must be culturally sensitive and demographically inclusive. Understanding the specific challenges and characteristics of misinformation in the Bangladeshi context is crucial for developing effective countermeasures. This background sets the stage for a detailed exploration of misinformation in Bangladesh, drawing parallels with global patterns while acknowledging the unique aspects of the local digital milieu.

Literature Review

This literature review synthesizes the current research on misinformation, focusing on its characteristics, virality factors, and public perceptions, both globally and within Bangladesh. This review integrates findings from the provided literature list, particularly emphasizing research relevant to the Bangladeshi context.

Global Trends and Local Dynamics in Misinformation

Misinformation often contains emotional and sensationalist content, contributing to its virality, particularly in social media environments (Bessi, 2016; Baptista & Gradim, 2020). Research indicates that false rumors are more viral than the truth if the source tweets embed a high number of other-condemning emotion words, a pattern observed during the COVID-19 pandemic (Solovev & Pröllochs, 2022). Homophily and polarization play a crucial role in the spread of misinformation, notably in socio-politically diverse contexts like Bangladesh (Anagnostopoulos et al., 2014; Törnberg, 2018). In Bangladesh, misinformation typically incites fear and confusion, especially during political events and natural disasters, with specific patterns including inaccurate alarms, glorification of religious subjects, and clickbait headlines (Towhid, n.d.; Sultana & Fussell, 2021).

Influences on Belief and Perception of Online Misinformation

Factors influencing the belief in misinformation include distrust in traditional media, habitual social media sharing behaviors, and the influence of political ideology, age, gender, and cognitive ability (Bhattacherjee, 2022; Baptista & Gradim, 2020). In Bangladesh, the term “Gujob” reflects the localized perception of misinformation, influenced by legal instruments like the ICT Act and Digital Security Act (BBC, 2019; Towhid, n.d.).

Specific Challenges and Responses in Bangladesh

Misinformation spreading strategies in Bangladesh include emotional coercion, altered media logos, and the repurposing of old information (Towhid, n.d.). Emotional responses to religious disinformation and the impact of social media rumors on minority attacks are influenced by factors such as religious extremism (Al-Zaman, 2021; Roy, Singh, & Kamruzzaman, 2023). The type of content, especially political and religious, significantly affects trust and sharing likelihood on social media (Samya, 2023).

Identified Limitations in Literature and Implications for Bangladesh

  1. Data Transformation and Reliability: Studies face challenges in transforming data effectively, and often rely on self-reported data, which can be subjective and may not fully encapsulate the broader context of misinformation (Bessi, 2016; Haque et al., 2020; Bryanov & Vziatysheva, 2021).
  2. National Representativeness: Research lacks a comprehensive national perspective, often focusing on specific regions or segments within Bangladesh. This limitation restricts the ability to generalize findings across the entire country (Haque et al., 2020).
  3. Contextual Specificity in Research: Studies like those by Al-Zaman (2021) provide valuable insights into misinformation in Bangladesh but are limited by their narrow geographic focus and smaller sample sizes.
  4. Methodological Limitations: The use of emojis and text analysis in social media research presents challenges in accurately interpreting user responses and sentiments (Al-Zaman, 2021).
  5. Scope of Studies on Minorities and Disinformation: Research on minority attacks and religious disinformation, such as the work by Roy, Singh, & Kamruzzaman (2023), is often constrained by a limited range of examples, thereby limiting the breadth of understanding in these areas.

Methodology

Research Design

This mixed-methods study explores the multifaceted issue of misinformation in Bangladesh, examining its origins, spread, impacts, and solutions. It is guided by the central research question: “What are the causes, impacts, and channels of misinformation in Bangladeshi society, and what strategies can effectively mitigate these impacts?” Supported by eight subsidiary questions, this research aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of misinformation dynamics in Bangladesh.

Participants

The study engaged 15 participants for qualitative interviews and 37 social media users for the quantitative survey. Participants were purposively selected for diversity, encompassing various demographics, experiences, and insights. The groups included:

  1. Residents of Dhaka and outside Dhaka, for urban and broader perspectives.
  2. Bangladeshi individuals abroad, for an international viewpoint.
  3. Academic and professional experts, including an economics lecturer, mass communication and journalism professor, a journalist, and a fact-checker.

Data Collection

Semi-structured interviews with 9–12 open-ended questions were conducted and recorded with participants’ consent, then transcribed. The quantitative survey used Google Forms with 17 questions.

Data Analysis

The qualitative data from the transcriptions were analyzed using ATLAS.ti for content analysis, identifying key themes. These themes were synthesized to address the study questions. The quantitative data were analyzed to complement these findings, focusing on establishing internal validity and reliability through rigorous evaluations by the research team.

Ethical Considerations

Adhering to the ethical standards set by the American Psychological Association (2017), participants were provided with detailed consent forms outlining the study’s objectives, their involvement, and confidentiality measures.

Findings

Findings from Qualitative Research

This section presents the nuanced insights derived from the qualitative interviews, focusing on the multifaceted aspects of misinformation in Bangladesh.

News Collection Practices among the General Population

Interviews revealed that most people gather news from both traditional and electronic sources, with a heavy reliance on social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube. An individual mentioned using Instagram, indicating a diverse range of digital platforms for news acquisition.

Discoverability and Impact of Misinformation

A significant finding is the initial invisibility of misinformation to many social media users. Regular users reported daily encounters, with one individual noting a 90% encounter rate. This points to the pervasive nature of misinformation and its subtle integration into regular content streams.

Expert Perspectives on Misinformation Spread

A journalism professor emphasized the accelerated spread of misinformation on social media compared to traditional outlets, with political news being particularly susceptible. The role of fact-checkers was highlighted, using tools like Meta’s Crowd Tangle to detect misinformation, underscoring the importance of algorithmic assistance in the battle against misinformation.

Case Studies of Misinformation

Participants shared specific examples of misinformation affecting their areas of interest. One notable instance involved the conflict between Bangladeshi cricketers Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal, which stirred public confusion until clarified by the cricketers themselves via official channels (Express News Service, 2023). This incident underscores the power of misinformation in creating public narratives, especially in the domain of sports.

Challenges in Identifying and Reacting to Misinformation

Participants expressed difficulty in discerning false information, depending on their prior knowledge of the subject. This highlights a critical gap in digital literacy, where lack of subject knowledge leads to increased susceptibility to misinformation.

Quantitative Scale of Misinformation:

A senior fact-checker from a prominent organization provided insights into the scale of misinformation, citing a total of 1082 cases identified from social media and domestic news outlets over a specific period (Rumor Scanner Team, 2023). This data points to the extensive reach and variety of misinformation in the digital landscape of Bangladesh.

Quantitative Survey

In this section, we present the findings from our quantitative survey, offering insights into the primary sources of news and information, methods for assessing information trustworthiness, encounters with and responses to misinformation, and the perceived impact of misinformation on society in Bangladesh. These findings are crucial for understanding the current landscape of misinformation and its implications. The data are represented through detailed tables and charts for a clear and comprehensive understanding.

Primary Sources of News and Information

Participants predominantly rely on social media platforms for news and information, significantly more than traditional news outlets or international news sources.

Table 1: Distribution of News Sources
News SourceCountPercentage
Social media3491.89%
Traditional News outlets (TV, Radio, Newspaper)25.41%
International News12.70%
Table 1: Dominance of social media as the key news source among participants.

Chart 1: Primary News Sources Among Survey Participants
Chart 1: This pie chart highlights the overwhelming preference for social media as the primary news source among survey participants

Trustworthiness Assessment of Information

Most participants cross-verify information with multiple sources, look for evidence of accuracy, or consider the reputation of the source.

Table 2: Trustworthiness Assessment Methods
MethodCountPercentage
Checking multiple sources1437.84%
Looking for evidence of accuracy1335.14%
Considering source’s reputation924.32%
Reputation and checking multiple sources12.70%
Table 2: Cross-verification with multiple sources is a primary method for assessing information trustworthiness.

Chart 2: Methods of Assessing Information Trustworthiness
Chart 2: Bar graph showing the predominance of cross-verifying information as the main method for assessing trustworthiness.

Frequency of Encountering Misinformation

A significant portion of participants reported encountering misinformation frequently.

Table 3: Frequency of Encountering Misinformation
Encountered MisinformationCountPercentage
Yes2772.97%
Maybe513.51%
No513.51%
Table 3: Frequent encounters with misinformation among participants.

Chart 3: Participant Encounters with Misinformation
Chart 3: A bar chart depicting the frequency of misinformation encounters and corresponding participant reactions.

Responses to Encountering Misinformation

The majority either report or ignore misinformation encountered.

Table 4: Responses to Encountering Misinformation
ResponseCountPercentage
Reported it1745.95%
Ignored it1335.14%
Shared after verifying616.22%
Shared without verifying12.70%
Table 4: Predominant response to misinformation involves reporting or ignoring it.

Chart 4: Responses to Misinformation Among Participants
Chart 4: Bar chart showing the proportion of participants affected by misinformation in terms of opinions and behaviors.

Influence of Misinformation on Opinions/Behaviors

Misinformation significantly influences participants’ opinions and behaviors.

Table 5: Influence of Misinformation on Opinions/Behaviors
Changed Opinion/BehaviorCountPercentage
Yes2670.27%
Maybe616.22%
No513.51%
Table 5: Significant influence of misinformation on changing opinions and behaviors.

Chart 5: Impact of Misinformation on Opinions and Behaviors
Chart 5: The chart illustrates the degree to which misinformation has led to changes in opinions or behaviors among the participants.

Perception of Misinformation’s Societal Impact

Participants overwhelmingly perceive misinformation as having a serious negative impact on society.

Table 6: Perception of Misinformation’s Societal Impact
Perception of ImpactCountPercentage
Strongly agree2772.97%
Agree718.92%
Strongly disagree25.41%
Neutral12.70%
Table 6: Strong agreement on the negative societal impact of misinformation.

Chart 6: Perceptions of Misinformation’s Impact on Society

Suggested Strategies to Combat Misinformation

In addressing the pervasive challenge of misinformation, this section synthesizes strategies proposed by participants from the qualitative and quantitative phases of the study. These strategies range from enhancing public awareness and digital literacy to leveraging advanced technological tools for fact-checking.

Awareness and Media Literacy Campaigns

A significant number of social media users highlighted the need for awareness campaigns to educate users on the pitfalls of misinformation. This approach is supported by experts in mass communication and journalism, who emphasize the necessity of making users responsible digital citizens. Additionally, a senior fact-checker advocates for internet literacy alongside media literacy, emphasizing a collaborative effort by media outlets in Bangladesh to enhance the effectiveness of these campaigns. These initiatives could include structured media literacy campaigns, highlighting the importance of verifying information before sharing it.

Feedback and AI-Enhanced Verification Systems

Implementing a feedback measurement system, such as a polling system on social media platforms, could help in identifying and mitigating misinformation. This approach is particularly relevant in the context of rapidly advancing AI technology. A software engineer and a PhD student suggest the utilization of AI for detecting misinformation, thereby automating part of the verification process. This could involve AI algorithms that analyze the credibility of information based on its source and content.

Integrity in Media Reporting

A call for honesty among media outlets is a recurring theme. The integrity of media plays a crucial role in mitigating misinformation. Ensuring that news outlets adhere to ethical reporting standards and verify their sources rigorously before publication is imperative.

User Verification and Age Restrictions

Implementing a user verification system, as suggested by a software engineer, could help in authenticating the identity of social media users. This, along with age restrictions for social media sign-ups, could ensure a more responsible use of these platforms. A system where news sources are required to be clearly cited could also enhance the transparency and credibility of information shared online.

Incorporating Media and Cyber Literacy in Education

Integrating media literacy into the education system, as suggested by several respondents, could equip future generations with the skills necessary to navigate the digital information landscape critically. This could be part of school curriculums or co-curricular activities, focusing on developing critical thinking and analytical skills from an early age.

Strengthening Reporting Mechanisms

The implementation of robust reporting systems for misinformation could empower users to actively participate in the identification and flagging of false information.

Governmental Intervention and Legal Frameworks

Government involvement in controlling misinformation through legal measures was also a suggested strategy. This could involve creating comprehensive guidelines and regulations for social media use, as well as imposing penalties for spreading misinformation. A strategic management system, possibly leveraging the IT sector’s capabilities, could be instrumental in this regard.

Restrictions for Users and News Publishers

Imposing restrictions and conducting evaluations for both journalists and general users before allowing them to publish news could be an effective measure. This may include financial penalties for those who disseminate misinformation.

Third-Party Fact-Checking

The establishment of independent third-party checkers to verify news items could add an additional layer of scrutiny, thereby reducing the spread of fake news.

Accessible Fact-Checking Methods

Making fact-checking tools user-friendly and accessible to the general public can empower individuals to verify information independently. This aligns with the notion of enhancing individual responsibility in combating misinformation.

Discussion

This investigation delves deeply into the pervasive issue of misinformation in Bangladesh, highlighting its profound societal impacts. By amalgamating qualitative and quantitative research methods, we have unraveled the intricate dynamics of misinformation, tracing its origins, dissemination channels, and multifarious impacts. This comprehensive analysis is further enriched by the incorporation of recent studies and insights from professionals in journalism, mass communication, and fact-checking, spotlighting the complexity of misinformation and underscoring the critical need for dynamic and effective counter-strategies.

Integration with Global Trends and Recent Studies

Our findings underscore a significant reliance on social media for news among Bangladeshi users, aligning with global media consumption patterns (Baptista & Gradim, 2020). This trend is crucial for understanding how misinformation spreads within the country. The Shakib-Tamim controversy serves as a case study, illustrating the swift formation of public narratives through misinformation, reflective of broader digital versus traditional news dissemination challenges (Express News Service, 2023). The incorporation of recent literature, such as the effectiveness of digital media literacy interventions (Guess et al., 2020; Badrinathan, 2021), demonstrates the potential of educational endeavors in enhancing discernment between mainstream and false news, thereby validating the necessity for tailored digital literacy initiatives.

Cultural and Demographic Sensitivities in Misinformation Dynamics

Our study highlights the critical role of cultural and demographic factors in both the spread and reception of misinformation, resonating with global insights that advocate for interventions tailored to cultural and demographic specificities (Jo, Yang, & Yan, 2022; Kaur et al., 2018). This finding necessitates the customization of misinformation counter-strategies to effectively resonate with Bangladesh’s diverse societal fabric.

Impacts on Public Opinion and Behavioral Responses

Misinformation’s influence on public opinion and behavior corroborates global concerns about its broader societal implications, including public health perceptions (Borges do Nascimento et al., 2022). The tangible effects of misinformation in Bangladesh, exemplified by the salt price rumor, emphasize the importance of designing impactful public awareness and media literacy campaigns informed by the nuanced effectiveness of educative interventions (Badrinathan, 2021).

Societal Impact and Advancement of Mitigation Strategies

Aligning with global discourse, our findings confirm the adverse societal impacts of misinformation and advocate for a comprehensive approach to combat it, integrating educational, technological, and fact-checking interventions. The exploration of AI and ML technologies in enhancing the efficiency and reach of fact-checking processes (Guo, Schlichtkrull, & Vlachos, 2022) offers promising avenues for bolstering these efforts.

Reflecting on Research Questions and Emerging Knowledge Gaps

Addressing the core research question, this study not only maps out the landscape of misinformation in Bangladesh but also identifies areas requiring deeper investigation. The inclusion of recent studies broadens our analytical perspective, highlighting the importance of adaptable, evidence-based strategies to counter the evolving challenge of misinformation. This dynamic approach to research, emphasizing the integration of ongoing studies, ensures that our recommendations remain relevant and effective in the fight against misinformation.

Strategic Recommendations for Mitigating Misinformation in Bangladesh

In response to the intricate challenge of misinformation delineated through our comprehensive mixed-methods study, this section articulates a detailed strategic blueprint aimed at curtailing the proliferation and impact of misinformation within Bangladesh. Grounded in an exhaustive analysis of misinformation’s pathways, its societal repercussions, and the nuanced perceptions of the public, we propose a suite of targeted strategies meticulously crafted to resonate with the unique socio-cultural fabric of Bangladesh. These strategies, envisioned to serve as a collaborative blueprint for stakeholders spanning diverse sectors, are meticulously designed to foster a concerted effort towards mitigating the adverse effects of misinformation.

Tailored Recommendations Based on Empirical Insights

Drawing upon the rich insights surfaced from our investigation, we present a series of evidence-based recommendations that address the multifaceted dimensions of misinformation—ranging from digital literacy and technological integration to legal reforms and public engagement. Each recommendation emerges from a synthesis of our empirical findings and the collective wisdom of participants, underscored by the latest scholarly contributions in this domain. These strategies are not just responses to the challenges identified; they are proactive measures aimed at cultivating a more informed, resilient, and discerning information ecosystem in Bangladesh:

  1. Comprehensive Digital Media Literacy Campaigns: Spearhead wide-ranging digital media literacy campaigns with a special emphasis on social media literacy, addressing misinformation at its most prevalent source. These campaigns should be custom-tailored to cater to the diverse demographics of Bangladesh, leveraging effective communication channels as identified by both local insights and recent academic contributions (Guess et al., 2020; Badrinathan, 2021; Diepeveen et al., 2022).
  2. Enhanced Fact-Checking Mechanisms Supported by AI: Deploy advanced AI and ML technologies to amplify the efficiency and reach of fact-checking endeavors, ensuring these tools are finely tuned to the local linguistic and contextual nuances. This recommendation integrates cutting-edge technological solutions with the invaluable expertise of human fact-checkers to establish a robust defense against misinformation (Guo, Schlichtkrull, & Vlachos, 2022).
  3. Integration of Media Literacy into Educational Curricula: Collaborate with educational policymakers to incorporate media literacy into the national curriculum. This initiative aims to arm the younger generation with the critical skills necessary to navigate the information landscape with discernment from an early age (Diepeveen et al., 2022).
  4. Promotion of Legal and Regulatory Frameworks: Advocate for the development and rigorous enforcement of legal frameworks that aim to curb the spread of misinformation, ensuring these measures are crafted with a keen sensitivity to the principles of free speech and the unique legal and cultural context of Bangladesh (Gaur, 2021).
  5. Targeted Public Awareness and Behavioral Change Campaigns: Execute specialized public awareness campaigns designed to induce behavioral changes in information consumption and sharing practices. These campaigns should weave narratives that resonate deeply with local communities, addressing the specific manifestations and impacts of misinformation as unveiled by our research (Ghahramani et al., 2022; Lee et al., 2022).
  6. Fostering Multi-Sectoral Collaborations for a Unified Response: Encourage and facilitate multi-sectoral partnerships encompassing government, the private sector, civil society, and academia to orchestrate a unified and comprehensive strategy against misinformation. Such collaborations are vital for pooling resources, expertise, and insights towards a common goal (World Economic Forum, 2022).
  7. Commitment to Continuous Research and Strategy Evolution: Pledge ongoing research efforts to persistently monitor the misinformation landscape and assess the efficacy of implemented strategies, ready to adapt and evolve these interventions in response to emerging challenges and insights (Roozenbeek et al., 2023).

Summary Table: An Action Plan Against Misinformation

This table distills our recommendations into clear objectives and actions, identifying stakeholders responsible for each measure. It serves as a quick reference for understanding collaborative roles in the fight against misinformation, emphasizing evidence-based, adaptable strategies for impactful change.

RecommendationsObjectiveActionsActors
Comprehensive Digital Media Literacy CampaignsEnhance public ability to discern credible informationDevelop and deploy literacy campaigns using effective channelsGovernment, NGOs, Educational Institutions
Strengthen Fact-Checking Mechanisms with AI SupportImprove fact-checking efficiency and accessibilityIntegrate AI technologies with human expertiseFact-Checking Organizations, Tech Companies
Integration of Media Literacy into Educational CurriculaEquip future generations with critical information evaluation skillsEmbed media literacy in national curriculumEducational Authorities, Schools
Promotion of Legal and Regulatory MeasuresCreate a legal deterrent against misinformation spreadAdvocate for and assist in developing legal frameworksPolicymakers, Legal Experts
Targeted Public Awareness and Behavioral Change CampaignsPromote critical engagement with informationDesign and implement awareness campaignsCivil Society, Media Organizations
Establish Multi-Sectoral Partnerships for a Unified ApproachLeverage collective resources against misinformationBuild and maintain collaborative networksGovernment, Private Sector, Civil Society, Academia
Continuous Research and Strategy AdaptationEnsure interventions remain effective over timeConduct ongoing research and adapt strategies accordinglyResearchers, Practitioners

Table 7: Key Recommendations, Objectives, and Stakeholders for Addressing Misinformation

This streamlined approach integrates our study’s insights into a practical roadmap, encouraging a unified effort to enhance information integrity and public discernment in Bangladesh.

Limitations and future research opportunities

This study’s exploration of misinformation in Bangladesh offers valuable insights but also acknowledges certain limitations. Addressing these will open doors for more in-depth future research.

Limitations

  1. Diversity of Participants: Future studies should aim for a broader spectrum of participants, capturing a range of socio-economic backgrounds and professional experiences for a more comprehensive view.
  2. Geographical Coverage: Expanding the study to more regions within Bangladesh could reveal regional variances in misinformation dynamics.
  3. Focused Sector Analysis: Detailed research in specific sectors like healthcare, education, and finance can yield more targeted insights.

Future Research Directions

  1. Policy Evaluation: Investigating the efficacy of existing misinformation policies and laws in Bangladesh can provide critical feedback for policy refinement.
  2. Healthcare and Mental Health Impact: Studying the influence of misinformation on healthcare choices and its psychological consequences can deepen understanding of its broader impacts.
  3. Comparative Regional Analysis: Analysing misinformation in the context of South Asia can offer valuable comparative insights.
  4. Educational Intervention Effectiveness: Evaluating the impact of media literacy programs will be crucial in shaping future educational strategies to combat misinformation.

These areas not only address the current study’s limitations but also chart a path for future research, aiming for a more rounded and effective approach in tackling misinformation.

Acknowledgement

We extend our deepest gratitude to Userhub for the opportunity to engage in their Human-Centered Design program. The valuable techniques and frameworks learned during this course have significantly contributed to the foundation and direction of our research.

Special thanks are due to all participants who generously offered their time and insights, playing an indispensable role in enriching our study. Their willingness to share their experiences and perspectives has been instrumental in shaping the depth and breadth of our research.

We also wish to acknowledge the invaluable assistance of the coordinators and facilitators who played a pivotal role in recruiting participants and ensuring the smooth execution of our research process.

Additionally, we acknowledge the use of OpenAI’s ChatGPT-4 for assisting in the refinement of this paper’s presentation and wording. The contributions of this advanced language model were thoroughly reviewed and adjusted by our research team to align with our study’s objectives and integrity.

This research is a collective effort, and its success is a testament to the collaboration and support of everyone involved. We are deeply appreciative of the contributions from all parties, which have been vital in bringing this study to fruition.

Declaration of interest

The authors declare no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Conclusion

Summary and Implications

This study highlights the significant impact of misinformation on the socio-economic and political landscapes of Bangladesh. The findings indicate that the prevalence of misinformation, driven by a lack of media literacy and critical thinking skills among the general public, poses considerable risks including potential incitement of violence and erosion of trust in societal institutions.

Call to Action

Addressing this issue necessitates a multi-pronged approach involving collaboration between government bodies, media entities, civic groups, and individual citizens. Enhancing media literacy and fostering a culture of critical analysis across the populace are critical steps in this endeavor.

Research Contributions

Our comprehensive research offers valuable insights into the perceptions and responses of social media users in Bangladesh regarding misinformation. It identifies key challenges and proposes essential measures to mitigate the impact of misinformation.

Global Context and Ongoing Efforts

Combating misinformation is a global challenge that requires continuous research, educational initiatives, and collaboration among various stakeholders. This study underscores the importance of maintaining vigilance and proactive strategies to counter the spread of misinformation.

Conclusion and Forward Look

This research emphasizes the urgency of implementing the suggested strategies to effectively mitigate the dissemination of misinformation. These efforts are not only crucial for national interests but also contribute to global endeavors to maintain the integrity of information in the digital era. The study calls for ongoing efforts and innovative solutions in the fight against misinformation, aiming for a more informed and responsible global society.

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