Peer correction of misinformation on social media: (In)civility, success experience and relationship consequences

Raffael Heiss, Andreas Nanz, Helena Knupfer, Elena Engel, Jörg Matthes

Misinformation often involves sensitive topics, and individuals may attempt to correct their peers using uncivil tones. We examined the effect of civil versus uncivil corrections on the perceived success of the correction and the reported relationship consequences. We used three-wave panel data consisting of 1513 participants in the first wave, and followed 686 individuals who participated in all three waves. Our results indicate that demographic variables were important predictors of the frequency and tone of correction. Furthermore, individuals reported an equal number of successful and unsuccessful correction experiences. Importantly, we found that more frequent civil correction was associated with a higher likelihood of success, and a successful correction experience was associated with positive relationship outcomes. In contrast, uncivil correction was associated with negative relationship consequences. In addition, individuals with higher appraisal literacy and those correcting close ties were more likely to report successful correction experiences.

Department of Communication
External organisation(s)
MCI Management Center Innsbruck
New Media & Society
Publication date
Peer reviewed
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
508007 Communication science
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Communication, Sociology and Political Science
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