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I do not believe you: how providing a source corrects health misperceptions across social media platforms

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Social media are often criticized as serving as a source of misinformation, but in this study we examine how they may also function to correct misperceptions on an emerging health issue. We use an experimental design to consider social correction that occurs via peers, testing both the type of correction (i.e., whether a source is provided or not) and the platform on which the correction ocratcurs (i.e., Facebook versus Twitter). Our results suggest that a source is necessary to correct misperceptions about the causes of the Zika virus on both Facebook and Twitter, but the mechanism by which such correction occurs differs across platforms. Implications for successful social media campaigns to address health misinformation are addressed.
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Keywords: Facebook; Misinformation; Twitter; health; social media

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Communication, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA 2: Communication, Culture, and Technology, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA

Publication date: October 3, 2018

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