Introducing ModSimulator – A Free Research Tool to Test the Effectiveness of Soft Content Moderation Measures on Social Media

ModSimulator is an open-source software tool designed to conduct experimental research on user behavior in response to social media content moderation interventions. ModSimulator allows researchers to test specific moderation measures, such as fact-check footnotes and blur screens, which are widely used by platforms to limit misinformation spread and inform users about post accuracy.

Using ModSimulator, researchers can create a customized, interactive social media timeline that closely resembles a real-world platform, enabling them to add fact-check footnotes or blur screens to selected posts. This approach allows for the study of users’ actual behavior in a realistic environment, rather than only relying on self-reported responses about encounters with misinformation.

If you are a researcher, feel free to use & modify the tool to conduct your own soft moderation experiment with footnotes & blur screens. You can download the code for ModSimulator via Github.

ModSimulator is a customized fork of the Mock Social Media Website Tool.

Preview Slides from our Work-in-Progress Study with ModSimulator: Studying the Impact of Soft Moderation Interventions on Engagement with Social Media Posts Containing False Claims about the Russia-Ukraine war