Assessing the credibility of COVID-19 vaccine mis/disinformation in online discussion

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Abstract

This study examines how the credibility of the content of mis- or disinformation, as well as the believability of authors creating such information is assessed in online discussion. More specifically, the investigation was focused on the credibility of mis- or disinformation about COVID-19 vaccines. To this end, a sample of 1887 messages posted to a Reddit discussion group was scrutinised by means of qualitative content analysis. The findings indicate that in the assessment of the author’s credibility, the most important criteria are his or her reputation, expertise and honesty in argumentation. In the judgement of the credibility of the content of mis/disinformation, objectivity of information and plausibility of arguments are highly important. The findings highlight that in the assessment of the credibility of mis/disinformation, the author’s qualities such as poor reputation, incompetency and dishonesty are particularly significant because they trigger expectancies about how the information content created by the author is judged.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJOURNAL OF INFORMATION SCIENCE
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Aug 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • COVID-19 vaccines, credibility, disinformation, misinformation, online discussion

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 2

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