The “Parallel Pandemic” in the Context of China: The Spread of Rumors and Rumor-Corrections During COVID-19 in Chinese Social Media

Celine SONG*, K. Hazel Kwon, Yin Lu, Yining Fan, Baiqi Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Although studies have investigated cyber-rumoring previous to the pandemic, little research has been undertaken to study rumors and rumor-corrections during the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic. Drawing on prior studies about how online stories become viral, this study will fill that gap by investigating the retransmission of COVID-19 rumors and corrective messages on Sina Weibo, the largest and most popular microblogging site in China. This study examines the impact of rumor types, content attributes (including frames, emotion, and rationality), and source characteristics (including follower size and source identity) to show how they affect the likelihood of a COVID-19 rumor and its correction being shared. By exploring the retransmission of rumors and their corrections in Chinese social media, this study will not only advance scholarly understanding but also reveal how corrective messages can be crafted to debunk cyber-rumors in particular cultural contexts.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Behavioral Scientist
Early online date24 Mar 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Mar 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • emotion
  • frames
  • rationality
  • rumor
  • rumor-correction
  • source characteristics

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