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Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
Journal of Strategic Marketing

For a Special Issue on
Fact or Fake: Information, Misinformation and Disinformation via Social Media

Manuscript deadline
30 April 2022

Cover image - Journal of Strategic Marketing

Special Issue Editor(s)

Xin Jean Lim, School of Economics and Management, Xiamen University, Malaysia
[email protected]

Park Thaichon, Griffith Business School, Griffith University, Australia
[email protected]

Sara Quach, Griffith Business School, Griffith University, Australia
[email protected]

Jun-Hwa Cheah, School of Business and Economics, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia
[email protected]

Hiram Ting, Department of Leisure and Recreation Management, Ming Chuan University, Taiwan; Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism Management, UCSI University, Malaysia
[email protected]

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Fact or Fake: Information, Misinformation and Disinformation via Social Media

Fake news is currently a burning issue and cause of great concerns to various stakeholders including the policymakers, businesses, consumers and society as a whole. In general, fake news refers to “news articles that are intentionally and verifiably false, and could mislead readers” (Allcott & Gentzkow, 2017, p. 213). Fake news represents problematic information used to manipulate and mislead the audience, often resulting in public harm for financial or ideological gains (Di Domenico et al., 2021). Though this problem is not new, it has now further proliferated due to the popularity of social media and the advancement of technologies that allow quick dissemination and even fabrication of information (Zhou & Zafarani, 2018; Apuke & Omar, 2021). In particular, social media have continued to replace the traditional news channels and become a regular source of information for many individuals (Visentin et al., 2019). As such, it provides a channel for fake news producers to reach a large number of people within seconds. It was found that falsehoods spread faster than the truth (reaching 1,500 people six times faster) and penetrated more deeply among social media users (people were 70% more likely to retweet or share falsehoods than the truth) (Vosoughi, Roy, & Aral, 2018). In fact, the top 50 fake news stories on Facebook generated approximately 22 million total shares, reactions, and comments in a year (BuzzFeed News, 2018).

Delving into the conceptualisation of “fake news” and its diffusion on social media, there are two types of false information: misinformation and disinformation. While both terms are commonly used, they are not synonymous. Disinformation refers to the deliberate dissemination of false information with the intention of deceiving (Bastick, 2021). Misinformation, on the other hand, involves inadvertent sharing of inaccurate information without premeditation. Therefore, the issue not only lies with the senders or origins but also those who share or the means. Fake news is often hard to detect because of users’ information overload and limit of cognitive resources restricting their ability to evaluate and verify news (Shin, Jian, Driscoll, & Bar, 2018). Furthermore, emerging technologies such as deepfake, a media enhancing technology leveraging Artificial Intelligence to generate audio and visual impersonations of real people (Kietzmann et al., 2020), have intensified both misinformation and disinformation.

The dissemination of falsehoods poses significant threats to individuals, organisations and communities. As fake news has gained traction on social media, it can trigger individuals’ negative emotions such as feelings of fear and disgust (Vosoughi et al., 2018; Vafeiadis et al., 2019). This can result in reduction of consumers’ trust and negative attitudes towards media and organisations (Mills & Robson, 2019; Borges‐Tiago, Tiago, Silva, Guaita Martínez, & Botella‐Carrubi, 2020). Furthermore, brand reputation and equity can be severely damaged if the company fail to refute falsified claims (Silverman and Singer-Vine, 2016). For example, Apple shares fell 10 per cent in 10 minutes in 2008 following an online fictitious news story about Steve Jobs suffering a heart attack (Hargreaves, 2008). Misleading tweets from Donald Trump led to stock market losses of $1.2bn for Toyota and $1bn for Boeing in mere minutes (Revesz, 2017; Weidner, Beuk, & Bal, 2019). More recently, the fake news related to COVID-19, lockdowns and vaccinations shared on social media also have caused some disruptive behaviours and social unrest (Marco-Franco, Pita-Barros, Vivas-Orts, González-de-Julián & Vivas-Consuelo, 2021; van der Linden, Roozenbeek & Compton, 2020).

Despite the fact that many Internet giants such as Facebook and Google have begun to work on new measures to tackle this problem, fake news has continued to gain popularity and become a grave concern in the digital era, which anonymity, user-generated content, filter bubble and selective exposure can give rise to fake-news sharing behaviour (Spohr, 2017). Though this phenomenon has recently attracted more scholarly intention, majority of studies have been done in the context of political sciences and journalism (Fedeli, 2019) and centred on fake news detection and channel of dissemination (Di Domenico et al., 2021). The lack of research on antecedents, outcomes, and the psychological mechanisms underlying fake news consumption and dissemination as well as the relevance of responsible consumerism in the current digital landscape offer the opportunity for a challenging and novel research field. This special issue aims for a broad approach to understanding fake news on social media. Papers considered for this special issue should focus on one or more of the core research areas, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • What are the salient antecedents of misinformation and disinformation?
  • What factors determine the visibility, authenticity and legitimacy of news posted or shared on social media as compared to the mainstream?
  • What roles do individual personality and social influences play in posting and sharing fake or unverified news online?
  • What roles do emotions and psychological factors play in processing and disseminating (fake) news from known and unknown sources?
  • How do social and cultural differences affect the sharing of and the responses to fake news? For example, is sharing always caring in a certain context?
  • How do technologies, policies or methods play an effective role to navigate and address the proliferation of fake or unofficial news?
  • What effects does viral news have on individuals’ psychological well-being before and after knowing that it is fake?
  • What is the spill-over effect of fake news on brands and the industry?
  • How can organisations and regulators design interventions that can detect, monitor and prevent the spreading of misleading information?
  • What strategy can organisations and regulators employ in responding to fake news?
  • What are the types of responsible and ethical behaviours when using social media to post and share information?

Submission Instructions

Submission open: March 30, 2022

Submission deadline: April 30, 2022

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