Exploring the Dynamics of Justification in the Wake of a Rumor Outbreak on Social Media

Anjan Pal, Alton Y.K. Chua, Snehasish Banerjee

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This paper explores the dynamics of justification in the wake of a rumor outbreak on social media. Specifically, it examines the extent to which the five types of justification—descriptive argumentation, presumptive argumentation, evidentialism, truth skepticism, and epistemological skepticism—manifested in different voices including pro-rumor, anti-rumor and doubts before and after fact-checking. Content analysis was employed on 1,911 tweets related to a rumor outbreak. Non-parametric cross-tabulation was used to uncover nuances in information sharing before and after fact-checking. Augmenting the literature which suggests the online community’s susceptibility to hoaxes, the paper offers a silver lining: Users are responsible enough to correct rumors during the later phase of a rumor lifecycle. This sense of public-spiritedness can be harnessed by knowledge management practitioners and public relations professionals for crowdsourced rumor refutation.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Knowledge Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

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  • Crowdsourced Rumor Refutation
  • Fact-checking
  • online rumor
  • social media
  • Social Constructivism

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