Think before you Share: Beliefs and emotions that shaped COVID-19 (Mis)information vetting and sharing intentions among WhatsApp users in the United Kingdom

Xuerong Lu*, Santosh Vijaykumar, Yan Jin, Daniel Rogerson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

This study examined how individuals’ emotional and cognitive responses to different shades of truth embedded in health crisis (mis)information (i.e., full falsity vs. partial falsity vs. full truth) might predict their information vetting and sharing intentions on social media. In the context of COVID-19 and based on an online survey of 725 UK WhatsApp users, the key findings of our study include: 1) Various shades of truth in provided COVID-19 information directly triggered participants’ sense of hope and influenced their intentions to vet and share the (mis)information they read; 2) Hope, confusion, and misinformation belief functioned as affective and cognitive predictors for whether and how individuals intended to share the (mis)information with immediate family members and strangers in their social networks. Multi-group mediation models further revealed the critical role hope played in evoking other emotions (i.e., confusion and anxiety) and forming misinformation belief, which in turn, led to varied (mis)information vetting and sharing behavioral intentions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101750
Number of pages11
JournalTelematics and Informatics
Volume67
Early online date29 Nov 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022

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