Can We Stop the Spread of False Information on Vaccination? How Online Comments on Vaccination News Affect Readers’ Credibility Assessments and Sharing Behaviors

John Petit, Cong Li, Barbara Millet, Khudejah Ali, Ruoyu Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study used a 2 (type of news: fake vs. real) × 2 (presence of negative user comments: yes vs. no) × 2 (presence of positive user comments: yes vs. no) between-subjects experimental design to examine the differences in perceived news credibility and sharing intention between fake news and real news on vaccination. Fake news was found to generate a lower level of perceived credibility than real news, which subsequently decreased news sharing intention. Furthermore, negative user comments significantly lowered perceived news credibility, and this was especially true for real news. However, this adverse effect was found to be mitigated by the presence of positive user comments. The experimental results have important theoretical and practical implications for future research on fake news about health and science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)407-434
Number of pages28
JournalScience Communication
Volume43
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2021

Keywords

  • fake news
  • false information
  • news commenting
  • news credibility
  • news sharing
  • vaccination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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