Modelling users' trust in online health rumours: an experiment- based study in China

Shengli Deng, Shaoxiong Fu*, Yong Liu, Hongxiu Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Introduction. With the increasing availability of infounation on the Internet, online rumours have become prevalent, and it is not uncommon for search engines to return unverified rumours about health. However, false infounation in such domains may lead to serious consequences if it gains users' trust. An understanding of the characteristics of online health rumours that users' trust is important for fighting their spread.

Method. Using real-world online health rumour data from a Chinese database, the authors investigated the predictors of users' trust in online health rumours. An experiment (n = 30) and interviews (n = 10) were conducted to examine how users evaluate particular types of health rumours.

Analysis. The effects of rumours' manner of presentation and the perceived information quality on users' trust were tested using ANOVA (with SPSS software) for the quantitative data collected in the experiment. The qualitative component applied content analysis of the interview data to further explain the results produced by the quantitative analysis.

Results. The impact of pictures (one dimension of rumour presentation) on users' trust varies, depending on the perceived quality of the pictures displayed with the online health rumours, and informativeness (a dimension of infounation quality) is an influential predictor of trusting beliefs.

Conclusions. The paper serves the aim of highly effective prediction of users' trust in online health rumours, and it contributes new insights for proactively evaluating the hazard level of a particular online health-rumour item.

Original languageEnglish
Article number890
Number of pages15
JournalINFORMATION RESEARCH: AN INTERNATIONAL ELECTRONIC JOURNAL
Volume26
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • INFORMATION-SEEKING
  • CANCER INFORMATION
  • INTERNET
  • QUALITY
  • READABILITY
  • CREDIBILITY
  • STUDENTS
  • IMPACT
  • COMMUNICATION
  • INTENTION

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