Testing Classical Predictors of Public Willingness to Censor on the Desire to Block Fake News Online

Justin D. Martin*, Fouad Hassan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study examined media use and attitudinal predictors of public willingness to censor fake online political news among representative samples in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia (total N = 2880). The study utilized research on the corrective action hypothesis (CAH) and the theory of presumed media influence (TPMI) as frameworks. The CAH holds that an individual’s belief that media are hostile and influential increases the likelihood that the individual will participate in public discourse urging countermeasures. TPMI maintains that the belief that media are influential is associated with attitudes about media, though those attitudes need not be negative. Perceived exposure to fake news online positively predicted willingness to censor fake news in all countries, aligning with some prior research on both the CAH and the TPMI. Facebook use was negatively associated with willingness to censor fake news in two of the countries, while trust in news media was a positive correlate in two countries. Implications for research on both willingness to censor and on fake news are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalConvergence
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Arab region
  • censorship
  • corrective action hypothesis
  • fake news
  • misinformation
  • online news
  • survey
  • theory of presumed media influence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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