Zheng study analyzes online health misinformation, corrective messages in China
Online health misinformation demonstrates higher certainty levels and includes more declarative sentences in the title, more emotional appeals, fewer exemplars and fewer credible sources than corrective messages delivered to combat misinformation, according to a study by doctoral candidate Xia Zheng.
“Online Health Misinformation and Corrective Messages in China: A Comparison of Message Features,” by Zheng and Shiwen Wu and Di Nie of Wuhan University, appears in Communication Studies. It analyzes the features of online health misinformation and their corresponding corrective messages on three major misinformation-correcting platforms in China.
The study was guided by research on health message features that drive selection and transmission.
The research found that message features such as title chunking and emotional appeals, which render information viral on Twitter among U.S subjects, were also present in widespread online health misinformation in China. These message features may interact with more universal psychological motives to drive information selection and transmission in the new media environment, according to the study.