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Jian-Ren Hou and Sarawut Kankham
When the spread of online health rumors on social media causes public concerns, the public is calling for action. However, little study has investigated how Facebook…
When the spread of online health rumors on social media causes public concerns, the public is calling for action. However, little study has investigated how Facebook reaction icons (expressing feelings function) affect online users' behavioral intentions (intention to trust and share) toward online health rumor posts. The current study addresses this gap by focusing on the effect of Facebook reaction icons in two conditions: Facebook reaction icons' presence (versus absence), and Facebook reaction icons' emotional valence (positive versus negative versus neutral). Moreover, the authors also investigated the interaction between Facebook reaction icons' emotional valence and online health rumor posts' framing headlines (gain versus loss).
The authors used a 7 (Facebook reaction icons: Love, Like, Haha, Wow, Sad, Angry and no icon) × 2 (Facebook framing headlines: gain and loss) between-subjects design, analyzing 507 samples from online users with one-way ANOVA and MANOVA.
Results show that online health rumor posts without Facebook reaction icons are more likely to negatively change online users' behavioral intentions than the posts with Facebook reaction icons; negative reaction icons (Sad and Angry) lower online users' behavioral intentions than positive reaction icons (Love and Like). Further, the incongruency effect of interaction (i.e. positive reaction icons with a negative message) would have more negative effects on online users' behavioral intentions than the congruency effect (i.e. positive reaction icons with a positive message).
This study has rich contributions to theoretical and practical implications for the Facebook platform and Facebook users to apply Facebook reaction icons against online health rumor posts.