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WhatsApp with India; WhatsApp with India? A field experiment on partisan misinformation and political decisions

COVID-19 Research Area(s): Equipment & Technology Innovations, Politics, Governance & Law

We will run a field experiment in the lead-up to regional elections in West Bengal, India, to study the effects of social media-specifically, WhatsApp-on voting behaviour and attitudes toward minorities. One group of subjects will be paid to delete WhatsApp from their phones and to not use it for two months pre-election; a second group will be paid to not use multimedia content on the app; a third group will be incentivized to read a daily digest of "high quality" news, and a final group will use their smartphones as usual. In addition, we will study the effects of WhatsApp on COVID-19-related beliefs and behaviours, in particular those related to vaccine take-up.