The presumed influence of digital misinformation: examining US public’s support for governmental restrictions versus corrective action in the COVID-19 pandemic
Article publication date: 2 December 2020
Issue publication date: 24 August 2021
Informed by the third-person effects (TPE) theory, this study aims to analyze restrictive versus corrective actions in response to the perceived TPE of misinformation on social media in the USA.
The authors conducted an online survey among 1,793 adults in the USA in early April. All participants were randomly enrolled in this research through a professional survey company. The structural equation modeling via Amos 20 was adopted for hypothesis testing.
Results indicated that individuals also perceived that others were more influenced by misinformation about COVID-19 than they were. Further, such a perceptual gap was associated with public support for governmental restrictions and corrective action. Negative affections toward health misinformation directly affected public support for governmental restrictions rather than corrective action. Support for governmental restrictions could further facilitate corrective action.
This study examined the applicability of TPE theory in the context of digital health misinformation during a unique global crisis. It explored the significant role of negative affections in influencing restrictive and corrective actions. Practically, this study offered implications for information and communication educators and practitioners.
The peer review history for this article is available at: https://publons.com/publon/10.1108/OIR-08-2020-0386
Funding: This research is supported by the 2018 Guangzhou Philosophy and Social Sciences Development Program during the 13th Five-Year Plan Period (Grant No. N5180160).
Cheng, Y. and Luo, Y. (2021), "The presumed influence of digital misinformation: examining US public’s support for governmental restrictions versus corrective action in the COVID-19 pandemic", Online Information Review, Vol. 45 No. 4, pp. 834-852. https://doi.org/10.1108/OIR-08-2020-0386
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