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Online silence: why do people not challenge others when posting misinformation?

Gurgun, S., Arden-Close, E., Phalp, K. T. and Ali, R., 2022. Online silence: why do people not challenge others when posting misinformation? Internet Research. (In Press)

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Online Silence_why do not people challenge others when posting misinformation.PDF - Accepted Version
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DOI: 10.1108/INTR-06-2022-0407


Purpose: There is a scarcity of research studies on why people remain inactive when encountering and recognising misinformation online. The main aim of this paper is to provide a groundwork for future research into why users do not challenge misinformation on digital platforms by generating hypotheses through a synthesis of pertinent literature, including organisational behaviour, communication, human-computer interaction (HCI), psychology, and education. Design/methodology/approach: Given the lack of directly related literature, this paper synthesised findings from relevant fields where the findings might be relevant, as the tendency to withhold opinions or feedback is a well-documented practice in offline interaction. Findings: Following our analysis of relevant literature, the potential reasons for online silence towards misinformation can be divided into six categories: self-oriented, relationship-oriented, others-oriented, content-oriented, individual characteristics, and technical factors. Originality: Although corrections coming from peers can effectively combat misinformation, several studies showed that people in cyberspace do not take such action. To the best of our knowledge, there has been scarce and virtually non-existent research investigating why people refrain from challenging others who post misinformation online. Thus, this paper attempts to address this gap and identify reasons in adjacent domains. The reasons provide a starting point for researching interventions to reduce reluctance and abstinence regarding the challenge of misinformation. Our findings can be beneficial beyond the area of challenging misinformation and are extensible to other types of content and communication that people are hesitant to discuss and challenge, such as online injustice, prejudice, and hate speech.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:misinformation; challenging misinformation; digital platforms; online silence
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:37725
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:28 Oct 2022 10:46
Last Modified:24 Nov 2022 12:01


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