Understanding misinformation and rumors that generated panic buying as a social practice during COVID-19 pandemic: evidence from Twitter, YouTube and focus group interviews

Naeem, Muhammad and Ozuem, Wilson ORCID: 0000-0002-0337-1419 (2021) Understanding misinformation and rumors that generated panic buying as a social practice during COVID-19 pandemic: evidence from Twitter, YouTube and focus group interviews. Information Technology and People. doi:10.1108/ITP-01-2021-0061 (In Press)

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Abstract

Purpose The purpose of the study is to understand how socially shared misinformation and rumors can enhance the motivation to protect personal interests and enhance social practices of panic buying. Design/methodology/approach The study employed a number of qualitative data collection methods for the purpose of triangulation, as it can offer thick interpretation and can help to develop a context specific research framework. Findings The shared misinformation and rumors on social media developed into psychological, physical and social threats; therefore, people started panic buying to avoid these negative consequences. People believed that there were differences between the information shared by politicians and government officials and reality, such as "everything is under control," whereas social media showed people standing in long queues and struggling to buy the necessities of life. The shared misinformation and rumors on social media became viral and received social validation, which created panic buying in many countries. Research limitations/implications It is the responsibility of government, politicians, leaders, media and the public to control misinformation and rumors, as many people were unable to buy groceries due either to socio-economic status or their decisions of late buying, which increased depression among people. Originality/value The study merged the theory of rumor (TORT) transmission and protection motivation theory (PMT) to understand how misinformation and rumors shared through social media increased global uncertainty and the desire to panic buy across the world.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Social media; Credibility; Information; Misinformation; Online rumor; Social constructionism
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business > HF5428 Retail Trade
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > Gloucestershire Business School
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2021 11:37
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2021 11:39
URI: https://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/10356

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