COVID-19, Digital Media, and Health| Exposure to COVID-19 Misinformation Across Instant Messaging Apps: Moderating Roles of News Media and Interpersonal Communication
Given that instant messaging apps have been identified as a new conduit of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) misinformation, this study pursues two goals. The first is to examine the associations between exposure to COVID-19 misinformation through instant messaging apps on the one hand and knowledge and preventive behavioral intention, on the other. The second is to test whether news media and interpersonal communication moderate these relationships. By analyzing survey data from 1,209 adults from the general population of South Korea during the COVID-19 pandemic, we found that exposure to COVID-19 misinformation across instant messaging apps was negatively related to COVID-19 knowledge and COVID-19–preventive behavioral intention. However, the negative link between misinformation exposure and preventive behavioral intention differed depending on the level of news media exposure and interpersonal communication. Specifically, the negative association between COVID-19 misinformation exposure and preventive behavioral intention was weaker among individuals who were exposed to more COVID-19 news media and participated in more interpersonal communication about COVID-19.