The effects of self-generated and other-generated eWOM in inoculating against misinformation

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Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Article number101835
Journal / PublicationTelematics and Informatics
Volume71
Online published11 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022

Abstract

This study examines the effects of self-generated and other-generated electronic word-of-mouth communication (eWOM) in inoculating individuals against potential misinformation. A three-phase between-subject experiment (N = 543) was conducted to compare the persuasive effects of inoculation messages combined with different eWOM content (self-generated, other-generated, and inoculation only) over two health topics (Covid-19 vaccine and e-cigarette). The results show that exposure to inoculation messages did not significantly increase resistance to misinformation. But inoculation messages combined with other-generated eWOM helped the participants develop more negative attitudes toward alternative smoking immediately after exposure to the inoculation stimuli. The participants who wrote eWOM after exposure to inoculation messages were more resistant to the attack of misinformation in Phase 3. Self-generated and other-generated eWOM did not significantly differ in their persuasive effects in any phases. The findings extend the literature on the effects of WOM in the inoculation process and offer theoretical implications over inoculation theory in online contexts. The study provides empirical guidance on using inoculation messages to combat misinformation in social media.

Research Area(s)

  • Misinformation, Inoculation theory, Covid-19 vaccine, E-cigarettes, Self-generated eWOM, Other-generated eWOM