What If Unmotivated Is More Dangerous? The Motivation-Contingent Effectiveness of Misinformation Correction on Social Media
This study examines the effect of misinformation correction on social media, contingent on the motivational factors heightened by social media when users are strongly opinionated. A 2 (uncertainty: low vs. high) × 2 (risk: low vs. high) × 2 (personal relevance: low vs. high) × 2 (attitudinal congruence with correction: incongruent vs. congruent) pretest and posttest factorial online experiment of 973 U.S. participants was conducted to examine the effectiveness of correction while controlling for misinformation source credibility. Findings suggest that correction is effective in decreasing social media users’ perceived credibility and sharing intention toward misinformation even when they are polarized on the issue of the misinformation. Interestingly, while this study confirms previous literature that users are biased toward proattitudinal correction sources than counterattitudinal ones, misinformation correction is also significantly more effective in decreasing perceived credibility and sharing intention when users are motivated by the personal relevance, uncertainty, and risks associated with the misinformation.