Gender as a moderating variable in online misinformation acceptance during COVID-19
Misinformation remained a critical consideration during the COVID-19 that further cultivated fears leading to strong unrest among the public globally. This study clarifies certain misconceptions related to the pandemic by investigating whether factors such as altruism, entertainment, information-sharing, information-seeking, comprehensibility have impact on COVID-19 misinformation acceptance and sharing it in the UAE culture, with gender as a moderating factor. An online survey (google.com) was used, with a sample of 200 university students, and analyzed using PLS-SEM software to determine the effects of constructed factors. The findings indicated that entertainment, information-sharing, and information-seeking factors have impact on sharing COVID-19 misinformation, while comprehensibility has impact on acceptance of misinformation. Interestingly, gender was found to have no impact on all the constructed factors, suggesting that other moderating factors (e.g., age) need to be considered in future research. Generally, online users need to learn how to verify online information that they receive/share on other social media, especially regarding health concern.
Salloum, Said A.