Cyber-rumor sharing under a homeland security threat in the context of government Internet surveillance: The case of South-North Korea conflict

Kyounghee Kwon, H. Raghav Rao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cyber-rumors and falsehoods have increasingly become a hindrance to government strategic communication. Especially when there is a national security alert, anti-government rumors can become weapons that thwart government crisis information management. A key element for any government's successful cyber-rumor management is to understand what makes citizens prone to engaging in cyber-rumors. We focus on citizens' cyber-rumoring tendency that arises within the larger context of a nation's governance over the Internet. Specifically, this study examines how citizen's assessment of government Internet surveillance influences their engagement with cyber-rumors during a homeland security threat. Two surveys in South Korea find that citizens' government Internet surveillance concerns increased their cyber-rumor sharing intention, and the effect was particularly significant during the period of homeland security threat. This paper reconsiders the efficacy of government Internet surveillance in mitigating cyber-rumor propagation among general public, and expands the discussions by introducing the logic of ‘distrust effect’ on cyber-rumoring. Cyber-rumor monitoring through government Internet surveillance can be counterproductive to homeland security efforts unless government aligns its surveillance policy with citizens' informational norms on cyberspaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-316
Number of pages10
JournalGovernment Information Quarterly
Volume34
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2017

Keywords

  • Citizen distrust
  • Cyber rumor
  • Governance over cyberspace
  • Government Internet surveillance
  • Homeland and National Security
  • Information policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Law

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