To read this content please select one of the options below:

Fake or real news? Understanding the gratifications and personality traits of individuals sharing fake news on social media platforms

Brinda Sampat (NMIMS Global Access School for Continuing Education, Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies University, Mumbai, India)
Sahil Raj (School of Management Studies, Punjabi University, Patiala, India)

Aslib Journal of Information Management

ISSN: 2050-3806

Article publication date: 17 January 2022

Issue publication date: 5 September 2022




“Fake news” or misinformation sharing using social media sites into public discourse or politics has increased dramatically, over the last few years, especially in the current COVID-19 pandemic causing concern. However, this phenomenon is inadequately researched. This study examines fake news sharing with the lens of stimulus-organism-response (SOR) theory, uses and gratification theory (UGT) and big five personality traits (BFPT) theory to understand the motivations for sharing fake news and the personality traits that do so. The stimuli in the model comprise gratifications (pass time, entertainment, socialization, information sharing and information seeking) and personality traits (agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, openness and neuroticism). The feeling of authenticating or instantly sharing news is the organism leading to sharing fake news, which forms the response in the study.


The conceptual model was tested by the data collected from a sample of 221 social media users in India. The data were analyzed with partial least squares structural equation modeling to determine the effects of UGT and personality traits on fake news sharing. The moderating role of the platform WhatsApp or Facebook was studied.


The results suggest that pass time, information sharing and socialization gratifications lead to instant sharing news on social media platforms. Individuals who exhibit extraversion, neuroticism and openness share news on social media platforms instantly. In contrast, agreeableness and conscientiousness personality traits lead to authentication news before sharing on the social media platform.


This study contributes to social media literature by identifying the user gratifications and personality traits that lead to sharing fake news on social media platforms. Furthermore, the study also sheds light on the moderating influence of the choice of the social media platform for fake news sharing.



Sampat, B. and Raj, S. (2022), "Fake or real news? Understanding the gratifications and personality traits of individuals sharing fake news on social media platforms", Aslib Journal of Information Management, Vol. 74 No. 5, pp. 840-876.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles