Misinformation Sharing on Twitter during Zika: An Investigation of the Effect of Threat and Distance

Rohit Valecha, Tejaswi Volety, H. Raghav Rao, K. Hazel Kwon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recently, health-related misinformation has plagued social media. We investigate the behavior of misinformation sharing on Twitter. We argue that misinformation sharing is likely to be influenced by the distance to the health crisis as afforded by Twitter. This article investigates three types of distances, namely social (personal relations), spatial (geometric), and temporal (time gap). We address three research questions in the context of Zika virus: first, how does social, spatial, and temporal distances affect the threat appeal of a misinformation message? Second, how does social, spatial, and temporal distances influence misinformation sharing? Third, how does the effect of social, spatial, and temporal distances on misinformation sharing varies based on the influence afforded by Twitter? The results indicate the negative effect of social and temporal distances on threat appeal, and the negative effect of spatial distance on misinformation sharing. The results also indicate the negative effect of temporal distance on misinformation sharing for more influential Tweeters and the negative effect of social and spatial distance on misinformation sharing for less influential Tweeters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9296952
Pages (from-to)31-39
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Internet Computing
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021

Keywords

  • Misinformation Sharing
  • Social Distance
  • Spatial Distance
  • Temporal Distance
  • Threat
  • Twitter
  • Zika

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications

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