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The influence of emotions on online information sharing behavior

Amal Dabbous (Faculté de Gestion et de Management, Université Saint Joseph de Beyrouth, Beirut, Lebanon)
Karine Aoun Barakat (INSEEC U, Paris, France)

Journal of Systems and Information Technology

ISSN: 1328-7265

Article publication date: 16 October 2023

Issue publication date: 14 November 2023

807

Abstract

Purpose

The spread of fake news represents a serious threat to consumers, companies and society. Previous studies have linked emotional arousal to an increased propensity to spread information and a decrease in people’s ability to recognize fake news. However, the effect of an individual’s emotional state on fake news sharing remains unclear, particularly during periods of severe disruptions such as pandemics. This study aims to fill the gap in the literature by elucidating how heightened emotions affect fake news sharing behavior.

Design/methodology/approach

To validate the conceptual model, this study uses a quantitative approach. Data were collected from 212 online questionnaires and then analyzed using the structural equation modeling technique.

Findings

Results of this study show that positive emotions have indirect effects on fake news sharing behavior by allowing users to view the quality of information circulating on social media in a more positive light, and increasing their socialization behavior leading them to share fake news. Negative emotions indirectly impact fake news sharing by affecting users’ information overload and reinforcing prior beliefs, which in turn increases fake news sharing.

Research limitations/implications

This study identifies several novel associations between emotions and fake news sharing behavior and offers a theoretical lens that can be used in future studies. It also provides several practical implications on the prevention mechanism that can counteract the dissemination of fake news.

Originality/value

This study investigates the impact of individuals’ emotional states on fake news sharing behavior, and establishes four user-centric antecedents to this sharing behavior. By focusing on individuals’ emotional state, cognitive reaction and behavioral response, it is among the first, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, to offer a multidimensional understanding of individuals’ interaction with news that circulates on social media.

Keywords

Citation

Dabbous, A. and Aoun Barakat, K. (2023), "The influence of emotions on online information sharing behavior", Journal of Systems and Information Technology, Vol. 25 No. 4, pp. 341-363. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSIT-03-2022-0060

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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