Debunking rumors on social media: The use of denials
What is it about?
With the growing proliferation of electronic word-of-mouth, rumors on the Internet have the potential to become viral. They can be shared easily on social media using one-click plugins such as Facebook's Share button or Twitter's Retweet button. When they eventually turn out to be false, rumors cause unnecessary panic and anxiety among the public.A possible strategy to debunk rumors is the use of denials, which refer to messages that refute false rumors. This research shows how denials can be used a proactive strategy to debunk rumors on social media.
Why is it important?
Even though rumors are highly prevalent, visible, and easily accessible in online setting, there has been a dearth of attempt hitherto to counter their spread. Unlike in the offline setting, the growing internet accessibility and proliferation of social media applications—where rumors are openly posted and reposted—have made it not only possible to investigate rumoring phenomena but also provide an opportunity to carefully craft debunking messages. This research offers insights to practitioners such as social media managers and website administrators on ways to debunk rumors using denials. It suggests that developing denials in an ad-hoc manner is not effective in terms of disseminating such messages through crowdsourcing. The more the denials are shared, the greater would be their chance to spread widely in the online community.
The following have contributed to this page: Dr Anjan Pal