Journal of the Midwest Association for Information Systems (JMWAIS)


China has adopted and implemented the Internet as a vehicle for economic development during the past several decades. As this has occurred, the Chinese national government has sought to control access to information in various ways over time. As political philosophies have changed over time, so has control over the ways in which users are able to publish and access information through the Internet in China. This study examines user perceptions of information quality in China over the decade beginning in 2007 and ending in 2017. Data were collected three times at five-year intervals. The results show that user perceptions have changed in a way that is consistent with changes in control over use of the Internet in China during this ten-year period. Specifically, user perceptions of information quality along a number of dimensions are similar at the beginning and end of this decade and either significantly higher or lower in the middle of the decade in ways that are consistent with Chinese control of the Internet in the middle of this decade. Our research shows that users are sensitive to information quality issues in that the changes in Chinese Internet users’ perceptions have shifted in parallel with public events and governmental practices. China is a prototypical case of tight government control of the Internet. The findings of this study shed light on user perceptions in one society of this type. In the long run, information providers should strive to provide high quality information as a strategy for mitigating the effects of fake news.