Effacing the Dilemma of the Rumoring Subject: A Value-Oriented Approach towards Studying Misinformation on Social Media
Date of Issue2017
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Rumor has been part of collective human life for centuries. Communities deal with anxiety and make sense of the unknowable by mixing apprehensions with what is already known to them. With modernity, and in line with studies on a range of social phenomena, there have been efforts to develop a science on rumor. Most of these studies deal with rumor at the propositional level, such that the rumoring or rumor-rebutting subject invariably belongs to one of the two sides of the ‘true-false’ divide. Similar categories are followed in the study of rumor in social media, where the nodes in a rumor chain are, however, less hierarchical, and where images are increasingly used for persuasion. This paper, following a value-oriented approach, argues that the science on rumor has objectivized the problem, and has suggested instrumental solutions like enhancing the digital literacy of social media users. Whereas, a value position should ideally attempt to efface the dilemma of the rumoring/rumor-rebutting subject, and locate rumors within the larger socio-political and historical context of a society.
Journal of Human Values
© 2017 Management Centre for Human Values (Published by SAGE Publication). This is the author created version of a work that has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication in Journal of Human Values, published by SAGE Publications on behalf of Management Centre for Human Values. It incorporates referee’s comments but changes resulting from the publishing process, such as copyediting, structural formatting, may not be reflected in this document. The published version is available at: [http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0971685817733576].