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Title: The influence of personality and motivation on the spread of misinformation in social media.
Authors: Chen, Xinran.
Keywords: DRNTU::Library and information science
Issue Date: 2012
Abstract: Social media is becoming a foundational component of daily life with rich user-generated information circulating within. It has also become a fertile ground for misinformation, defined as factually untrue information, due to the lack of quality control mechanism. The spread of misinformation in social media not only causes superfluous negative consequences in the public, but is also affecting the effectiveness of further utilization of social media. It is essential to gain more understanding on this issue; however, little research has been done from the perspective of individual differences. Given this research gap, the present study proposed and directly tested three main predictor categories to understand the spread of misinformation in social media, namely personality, motivation, and perceived characteristic of information. Besides, perceived truthfulness of information was also included as a factor with regards to the particular nature of misinformation. Survey questionnaire was conducted and 171 samples were collected from two public universities in Singapore. The findings showed that the spread of misinformation was common among college students in Singapore, and user-intrinsic factors, in this case two personality traits (Neuroticism and Openness to experience) and three motivation factors (Entertainment, Socializing, and Status seeking), did play influential roles on the spread behavior. Moreover, personality exerted important impacts on one’s motivation. It is concluded that people’s sharing of misinformation in social media is mainly based on their personal characters or specific motivations, while the action of sharing per se, rather than the content of the information being shared, is what really matters. Thus, in spite of the falsity of misinformation, they may still share it in social media for other reasons. The phenomenon indicates that more effort shall be put in information literacy education to impart a correct attitude toward misinformation. This initial study drafted a fundamental and critical outline on this issue and is expected to lead to further research in the field.
Rights: Nanyang Technological University
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:WKWSCI Theses

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