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Impact of fake news on social image perceptions and consumers’ behavioral intentions

Anubhav Mishra (Jaipuria Institute of Management Lucknow, Lucknow, India and Indian Institute of Management Ranchi, Ranchi, India)
Sridhar Samu (Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai, India)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 18 August 2021

2902

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine how content relevancy influences consumers’ preference to receive and share fake news. Further, it investigates how these receivers perceive the social image of the people who share fake news. Finally, this study examines how brand strength and valence and credibility of fake content influence consumer’s word-of-mouth recommendations, purchase intentions and attitude toward the brand.

Design/methodology/approach

Three experiments were conducted to test the hypotheses. The data was analyzed using a two-way analysis of variance and PROCESS techniques.

Findings

Findings indicate that people prefer to receive and share relevant content, even if it is fake. Sharing fake news conveys the sender’s sociability but also creates a negative perception of narcissism. Individuals are more likely to recommend a brand if the fake news is perceived as credible and positive (vs negative). Finally, brand-strength can help brands to negate the harmful effects of fake news.

Research limitations/implications

Future research can explore the role of group dynamics, tie-strength and media richness (text, image and videos) in the dispersion of fake news and its impact on brands.

Practical implications

Marketers should communicate and educate consumers that sharing fake content can harm their social image, which can reduce information dispersion. Marketers should also improve brand-strength that can protect the brand against the adverse impact of fake news.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the emerging literature on fake news by studying the impact of fake news on consumer intentions and attitudes toward the brand, which are critical for the success of any brand.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors are thankful to the Editor, the Associate Editor, and the anonymous reviewers for their excellent suggestions and feedback during the review of their paper.

Funding: First Author received the Funding (Level 1 Research Grant) from Indian Institute of Management Ranchi.

The authors are listed in alphabetical order (by first name). All authors contributed equally towards this research.

Citation

Mishra, A. and Samu, S. (2021), "Impact of fake news on social image perceptions and consumers’ behavioral intentions", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCM-05-2020-3857

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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