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Fake news on the internet: a literature review, synthesis and directions for future research

Yuanyuan Wu (School of Management, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, China) (Department of Management and Marketing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China)
Eric W.T. Ngai (Department of Management and Marketing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China)
Pengkun Wu (Business School, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China)
Chong Wu (School of Management, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, China)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Article publication date: 29 March 2022

Issue publication date: 7 September 2022

1606

Abstract

Purpose

The extensive distribution of fake news on the internet (FNI) has significantly affected many lives. Although numerous studies have recently been conducted on this topic, few have helped us to systematically understand the antecedents and consequences of FNI. This study contributes to the understanding of FNI and guides future research.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on the input–process–output framework, this study reviews 202 relevant articles to examine the extent to which the antecedents and consequences of FNI have been investigated. It proposes a conceptual framework and poses future research questions.

Findings

First, it examines the “what”, “why”, “who”, “when”, “where” and “how” of creating FNI. Second, it analyses the spread features of FNI and the factors that affect the spread of FNI. Third, it investigates the consequences of FNI in the political, social, scientific, health, business, media and journalism fields.

Originality/value

The extant reviews on FNI mainly focus on the interventions or detection of FNI, and a few analyse the antecedents and consequences of FNI in specific fields. This study helps readers to synthetically understand the antecedents and consequences of FNI in all fields. This study is among the first to summarise the conceptual framework for FNI research, including the basic relevant theoretical foundations, research methodologies and public datasets.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors thank the editor and three anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments, criticisms and help in improving the paper. Yuanyuan Wu was supported in part by Joint PhD programmes (PolyU-HIT) leading to Dual Awards. Pengkun Wu was supported in part by National Natural Science Foundation of China (62001314), MOE (Ministry of Education in China) Project of Humanity and Social Science (20YJC630159), Foundational Research Funds of the Central Universities (YJ202008, SXYPY202106), From 0 to 1 Project of Sichuan University (2021CXC19), and International Visiting Program for Excellent Young Scholars of Sichuan University. Chong Wu was supported in part by National Natural Science Foundation of China (72131005).

Citation

Wu, Y., Ngai, E.W.T., Wu, P. and Wu, C. (2022), "Fake news on the internet: a literature review, synthesis and directions for future research", Internet Research, Vol. 32 No. 5, pp. 1662-1699. https://doi.org/10.1108/INTR-05-2021-0294

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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