It’s Nothing but a Deepfake! The Effects of Misinformation and Deepfake Labels Delegitimizing an Authentic Political Speech

Michael Hameleers, Franziska Marquart


Mis- and disinformation labels are increasingly weaponized and used as delegitimizing accusations targeted at mainstream media and political opponents. To better understand how such accusations can affect the credibility of real information and policy preferences, we conducted a two-wave panel experiment (Nwave2 = 788) to assess the longer-term effect of delegitimizing labels targeting an authentic video message. We find that exposure to an accusation of misinformation or disinformation lowered the perceived credibility of the video but did not affect policy preferences related to the content of the video. Furthermore, more extreme disinformation accusations were perceived as less credible than milder misinformation labels. The effects lasted over a period of three days and still occurred when there was a delay in the label attribution. These findings indicate that while mis- and disinformation labels might make authentic content less credible, they are themselves not always deemed credible and are less likely to change substantive policy preferences.


credibility, misinformation, disinformation, deepfakes, fake news labels

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