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Fibber – A Game About Political Deception

About Fibber

The upcoming presidential elections will be the first since Citizens United v. FEC, which means an ever-increasing role of political advertisements. According to the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, these political advertisements are not just becoming more prevalent, but also riddled with deception and confusion. Framed within the context of changes to financing political ads and exponential growth in social media and online gaming, Fibber explores the question – how can we design games that increase self-reflection on one’s susceptibility to deception in an effort to heighten fact-checking around political messaging?Beyond an attempt to internalize facts or advocate for fact-checking, Fibber attempts to both use in-game decisions to prompt players to reflect on their own bias in how they perceive “the truth” while also crowdsourcing the most “uncaught” deceptive statements made by presidential candidates so they can be shared via Twitter with the broader community.

Promoting Self-Reflection

At the end of the game, players are provided data on the rate at which they were able to detect facts and fibs, as well as the kind of bias that emerged such as being more likely to think a specific candidate was lying or being truthful. Such reflective practices can lead to more critical literacy around political messaging.

Crowd-sourcing Deceptive Statements

Decisions made by players are collected into a database whereby we can determine which are the most popular deceptions that are commonly thought to be true. These crowdsourced misperceptions are then automatically tweeted with to relevant political hashtags. For example a lie made by Romney and very commonly guessed as true by players will be tweeted with hashtags #romney #foxnews. Such a mechanic uses a collection of players to source deceptions that can then be provided to the broader community for their own reflection.

Related Publications

Vacca, R. (2012). Biases on Truthfulness: Using a Game to Prompt Self-Reflection. Proceedings of the 2nd Annual Digital Ethics Symposium. Chicago, Il.

Vacca, R. (2012). Fibber: A Game to Prompt Self-Reflection on Biases Towards Truthfulness. Meaningful Play 2012 Conference, East Lansing, MI.

Vacca, R. (2012). Fibber: A Game to Reflect on Deception in Political Messaging. Emerging Learning Design Conference at Montclair State University, NJ.