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 (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 & People, ahead- (ahead-).

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1108/ITP-01-2021-0061

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
Journal / Publication Title: Information Technology & People
Publisher: Emerald
ISSN: 0959-3845
Departments: Departments > Institute of Business, Industry and Leadership > Business
Depositing User: Insight Administrator
SWORD Depositor: Insight Administrator
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2021 11:33
Last Modified: 05 Nov 2021 11:33
URI: https://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/6286

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