Misinformation can have lasting impacts in the management and control of a public emergency. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how misinformation flows and how user characteristics can shape such flows in the context of a violent riot in Singapore.
The authors apply the two-step flow theory and discuss the mixed methods approach involving wrangling Twitter data and descriptive analysis to develop and analyse two corpuses of misinformation related to the riot.
The findings are mostly consistent with the two-step flow theory, in that misinformation flows to the masses from opinion leaders (as indicated by higher measures such as online social influence and followers/following ratio). In the presence of misinformation, tweets opposing such misinformation may not always come from opinion leaders.
The authors work furthers knowledge about how misinformation goes viral, which provides practical implications to help policymakers and scholars in understanding and managing the dynamics and pitfalls of misinformation during an emergency.
This paper tackles the problem of misinformation in public emergencies using a mixed methods approach and contributes to ongoing theoretical work on managing online misinformation especially in public emergencies and crises.
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