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When Personalization Is Not an Option: An In-The-Wild Study on Persuasive News Recommendation

1
Dipartimento di Informatica, Università degli Studi di Torino, 10149 Turin, Italy
2
ICAR-CNR Institute, 90146 Palermo, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Information 2019, 10(10), 300; https://doi.org/10.3390/info10100300
Received: 31 July 2019 / Revised: 14 September 2019 / Accepted: 20 September 2019 / Published: 26 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Personalizing Persuasive Technologies)
Aiming at granting wide access to their contents, online information providers often choose not to have registered users, and therefore must give up personalization. In this paper, we focus on the case of non-personalized news recommender systems, and explore persuasive techniques that can, nonetheless, be used to enhance recommendation presentation, with the aim of capturing the user’s interest on suggested items leveraging the way news is perceived. We present the results of two evaluations “in the wild”, carried out in the context of a real online magazine and based on data from 16,134 and 20,933 user sessions, respectively, where we empirically assessed the effectiveness of persuasion strategies which exploit logical fallacies and other techniques. Logical fallacies are inferential schemes known since antiquity that, even if formally invalid, appear as plausible and are therefore psychologically persuasive. In particular, our evaluations allowed us to compare three persuasive scenarios based on the Argumentum Ad Populum fallacy, on a modified version of the Argumentum ad Populum fallacy (Group-Ad Populum), and on no fallacy (neutral condition), respectively. Moreover, we studied the effects of the Accent Fallacy (in its visual variant), and of positive vs. negative Framing. View Full-Text
Keywords: persuasive technologies; fallacies; framing; non-personalized recommender systems; evaluation in the wild persuasive technologies; fallacies; framing; non-personalized recommender systems; evaluation in the wild
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Gena, C.; Grillo, P.; Lieto, A.; Mattutino, C.; Vernero, F. When Personalization Is Not an Option: An In-The-Wild Study on Persuasive News Recommendation. Information 2019, 10, 300.

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