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Consumer response to fake news about brands on social media: the effects of self-efficacy, media trust, and persuasion knowledge on brand trust

Zifei Fay Chen (Department of Communication Studies, University of San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA)
Yang Cheng (Department of Communication, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA)

Journal of Product & Brand Management

ISSN: 1061-0421

Article publication date: 11 October 2019

Issue publication date: 5 March 2020

Abstract

Purpose

Drawing on theoretical insights from the persuasion knowledge model (PKM), this study aims to propose and test a model that maps out the antecedents, process and consequences to explain how consumers process and respond to fake news about brands on Facebook.

Design/methodology/approach

Contextualizing the fake news about Coca-Cola’s recall of Dasani water, an online survey was conducted via Qualtrics with consumers in the USA (N  =  468). Data were analyzed using covariance-based structural equation modeling.

Findings

Results showed that self-efficacy and media trust significantly predicted consumers’ persuasion knowledge of the fake news. Persuasion knowledge of the fake news significantly influenced consumers’ perceived diagnosticity of the fake news and subsequent brand trust. Furthermore, persuasion knowledge of the fake news mediated the effects from self-efficacy on perceived diagnosticity of the fake news and brand trust, respectively.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the literature of brand management by examining how consumers process and respond to fake news about a brand. It also extends the persuasion knowledge model by applying it to the context of fake news about brands on social media, and incorporating antecedents (self-efficacy and media trust) and consequences (perceived diagnosticity and brand trust) of persuasion knowledge in this particular context. Practically, this study provides insights to key stakeholders of brands to better understand consumers’ information processing of fake news about brands on social media.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 26th International Public Relations Research Symposium (BledCom) in July 2019 in Lake Bled, Slovenia.

Funding for this study was provided by the North Carolina State University Faculty Research Award.

Citation

Chen, Z.F. and Cheng, Y. (2020), "Consumer response to fake news about brands on social media: the effects of self-efficacy, media trust, and persuasion knowledge on brand trust", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 29 No. 2, pp. 188-198. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPBM-12-2018-2145

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited