Fake News: Audience Perceptions and Concerted Coping Strategies
Authentication. correction. fake news. availability heuristic.intuitive covariance assessment. mixed media relationship. prevalence. online community. severity. social ties. susceptibility
People’s threat perceptions inform their coping strategies. However, no prior research explicitly addresses threat perceptions of fake news or how people cope with it. To address this pertinent research gap, the current article proposes a theoretical framework of the process by which people perceive and cope with the threat of fake news. The framework supports three research objectives. First, this study identifies triggers (i.e. information availability and experience accessibility) of threat perceptions (i.e. prevalence, severity, and susceptibility) in relation to fake news. Second, it aims to specify how people cope, once a threat perception is triggered, by exploring their acts of authentication and acts of correction, which represent concerted coping strategies in response to fake news. With these two behaviours as input, a latent class analysis classifies audiences according to the concerted coping strategies they adopt. Third, this study explores why people adopt unique patterns for their concerted coping styles. With a survey of a representative sample in Taiwan, the authors test and confirm the proposed theoretical framework.