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Determinants of debunking information sharing behaviour in social media users: perspective of persuasive cues

Fan Chao (School of Management, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, China)
Xin Wang (School of Management, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, China)
Guang Yu (School of Management, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, China)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Article publication date: 16 June 2023

576

Abstract

Purpose

Sharing and disseminating debunking information are critical to correcting rumours and controlling disease when dealing with public health crises. This study investigates the factors that influence social media users' debunking information sharing behaviour from the perspective of persuasion. The authors examined the effects of argument adequacy, emotional polarity, and debunker's identity on debunking information sharing behaviour and investigated the moderating effects of rumour content and target.

Design/methodology/approach

The model was tested using 150 COVID-19-related rumours and 2,349 original debunking posts on Sina Weibo.

Findings

First, debunking information that contains adequate arguments is more likely to be reposted only when the uncertainty of the rumour content is high. Second, using neutral sentiment as a reference, debunking information containing negative sentiment is shared more often regardless of whether the government is the rumour target, and information containing positive sentiment is more likely to be shared only when the rumour target is the government. Finally, debunking information published by government-type accounts is reposted more often and is enhanced when the rumour target is the government.

Originality/value

The study provides a systematic framework for analysing the behaviour of sharing debunking information among social media users. Specifically, it expands the understanding of the factors that influence debunking information sharing behaviour by examining the effects of persuasive cues on debunking information sharing behaviour and the heterogeneity of these effects across various rumour contexts.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China [72074060]. The authors also thank the editors and anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions for the manuscript.

Citation

Chao, F., Wang, X. and Yu, G. (2023), "Determinants of debunking information sharing behaviour in social media users: perspective of persuasive cues", Internet Research, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/INTR-07-2022-0497

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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