Fighting the Spread of COVID-19 Misinformation on Social Media: Predicting Two Types of Misinformation-Sharing Behaviors via Risk Perception, Social Media Literacy, Fear, and Organizational Trust

소셜미디어에서 코로나바이러스 거짓정보의 확산억제에 대한 연구: 위험인식, 소셜미디어 리터러시, 두려움, 그리고 조직에 대한 신뢰를 통한 두 가지 유형의 잘못된 정보 공유행동 예측하기

Chon, Myoung-Gi / Lee, Tae Jun

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Objectives The intertwining of the coronavirus spread with misinformation creates confusion among the people, significantly affecting their decision-making concerning vaccines and treatments. Given the ease with which individuals encounter COVID-19-related misinformation on social media platforms, it is imperative to anticipate and understand the behaviors of social media users with respect to sharing misinformation. This study aimed to validate a theoretical framework that seeks to predict two distinct types of misinformation-sharing behaviors: those who engage in fact-checking and those who do not. The study achieved this by investigating the influence of participants' perceptions of COVID-19 risk, their level of social media literacy, fear levels, and their trust in both the media and government for their fact-checking.
Methods This study conducted an online survey that included 500 participants from South Korea. Hierarchical regression analysis was conducted to predict two distinct types of misinformation-sharing behaviors: those who engage in fact-checking and those who do not.
Results The results of this study showed that fake news exposure and fear of COVID-19 were significant factors in predicting the two types of misinformation-sharing behaviors. By accounting for demographic information, exposure to fake news, and fear of COVID-19, the results of this study showed that trust in the media predicted individuals' misinformation-sharing behaviors without fact checks whereas social media literacy and trust in government led to fact-checking behavior before sharing misinformation related to COVID-19.
Conclusions Infectious diseases like COVID-19 are likely to recur in the future. Consequently, the findings of this study carry both theoretical and practical significance within the realms of crisis and public communication. Specifically, the framework for predicting two distinct forms of misinformation-sharing behaviors may contribute to the development of communication theory. Furthermore, the outcomes of this study can offer valuable insights into the communication skills of professionals working in government positions.

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Fake News; Fact Check; Misinformation; Social Media Literacy; Media Trust; Government Trust; COVID-19; 가짜뉴스; 팩트체크; 잘못된 정보; 소셜미디어 리터러시; 미디어 신뢰; 정부신뢰; 코로나바이러스
Journal Title
Journal of Public Relations
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