Estimating cost of fighting against fake news during catastrophic situations

media user
fake news
national disaster situation
national hazard
contingent valuation
technological response in public
fake news policy
Telematics and Informatics. 66, 101734.

Hanseul Jo

Soyeong Park

Dongcheol Shin

Jungwoo Shin*

Changjun Lee




As the battle with COVID-19 continues, an Infodemic problem has been raised. Even though the distribution of false news in national disaster situations has been reported for a long time, little attention has been given to the quantitative research of the fake news problem from the audience’s perspective. This study, therefore, aims to estimate how much tax taxpayers would gladly pay for a virtual public-run fact-checking system. Using a one-and-one-half bounded dichotomous choice contingent valuation method, a survey was conducted on 525 respondents in Korea, and the spike model was applied to distinguish zero willingness-to-pay (WTP). The results show that a household’s WTP for the public fact-checking system is 10,652 KRW (9 USD), on average, in the form of income tax for five years. Given the amount is a regular payment in perpetuity, the total WTP is estimated at 23 billion KRW ($196 M) every year. The result also shows that an individual’s WTP increases as his or her psychological damage caused by fake news is high, as well as his or her high reliance on news in a disaster situation.