What motivates people to counter misinformation on social media? Unpacking the roles of perceived consequences, third-person perception and social media use

Chen Luo, Yijia Zhu*, Anfan Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: Drawing upon the third-person effect (TPE) theory, this study focuses on two types of misinformation countering intentions (i.e. simple correction and correction with justification). Accordingly, it aims to (1) assess the tenability of the third-person perception (TPP) in the face of misinformation on social media, (2) explore the antecedents of TPP and its relationship with individual-level misinformation countering intentions and (3) examine whether the mediating process is contingent on different social media usage conditions. 

Design/methodology/approach: An online survey was conducted with 1,000 representative respondents recruited in Mainland China in January 2022 using quota sampling. Paired t-test, multiple linear regression and moderated mediation analysis were employed to examine the proposed hypotheses. 

Findings: Results bolster the fundamental proposition of TPP that individuals perceive others as more susceptible to social media misinformation than they are. The self-other perceptual bias served as a mediator between the perceived consequence of misinformation and misinformation countering (i.e. simple correction and correction with justification) intentions. Furthermore, intensive social media users were likely to be motivated to counter social media misinformation derived from the indirect mechanism. 

Originality/value: The findings provide further evidence for the role of TPE in explaining misinformation countering intention as prosocial and altruistic behavior rather than self-serving behavior. Practically, promising ways to combat rampant misinformation on social media include promoting the prosocial aspects and beneficial outcomes of misinformation countering efforts to others, as well as reconfiguring the strategies by impelling intensive social media users to participate in enacting countering actions 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-122
Number of pages18
JournalOnline Information Review
Volume48
Issue number1
Early online date2 May 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2024

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences

User-Defined Keywords

  • Misinformation
  • Social media
  • Third-person perception
  • Misinformation correction
  • Correction with justification

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