Correcting climate change misinformation on social media: Reciprocal relationships between correcting others, anger, and environmental activism

Isabelle Freiling, Jörg Matthes

Although correcting others on social media is a frequently used strategy to combat the spreading of misinformation, we lack knowledge on the drivers of such corrective efforts. We theorize that climate change-related anger and political environmental activism can explain why people chose to correct others on social media. We further assume reciprocal relationships in which the act of correcting others predicts anger and political environmental activism. By doing so, we extend the concept of expression effects of correcting others from a cognitive level that predicts activism to an affective level (i.e., predicting anger). Structural equation modeling using data from a two-wave panel survey (N = 549) showed reciprocal relations between political environmental activism and correcting perceived climate change misinformation. Correction was further positively related to climate change-related anger, which, in turn, was positively related to political environmental activism. The data showed neither support for climate change-related anger predicting correction nor for political environmental activism predicting anger. This paper discusses the proposed extension of expression effects to an affective level in the context of misinformation research.

Department of Communication
External organisation(s)
University of Utah
Computers in Human Behavior
Publication date
Peer reviewed
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
508007 Communication science
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Psychology(all), Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous), Human-Computer Interaction
Sustainable Development Goals
SDG 13 - Climate Action
Portal url