Conversations on social media networks that discuss a crisis incident as it unfolds have become a norm in recent years. Left to its own devices, such conversations could quickly degenerate into rumor mills. Little research has thus far examined the correction of rumors on social media. Using the thirdperson effect as a theoretical underpinning, we developed a model of collective rumor correction on social media based on an incident surrounding the death hoax of a political figure. Tweets from Twitter were collected and analyzed for the period when a spike of circulating rumors speculating the demise of Singapore’s first prime minister was detected. Corrections of the rumor also went viral on the same day. Our study reveals that corrective behavior during a death hoax situation on Twitter is characterized by affirmative and rational rebuttals verifiable by credible sources. While the inclusion of credible sources is essential for both rumor diffusion and corrections, correcting a rumor differs from its diffusion in that unambiguity and low emotional levels are crucial. Key characteristics of collective rumor correction identified by this study have implications for both theory and practice. We discussed these implications together with the study’s limitations and suggestions for future research.
Chua, Alton Y.K.; Cheah, Sin-Mei; Goh, Dion H; and Lim, Ee-Peng, "COLLECTIVE RUMOR CORRECTION ON THE DEATH HOAX" (2016). PACIS 2016 Proceedings. 178.