Accountability mobilization, guanxi and social media?induced polarization: Understanding the bystander’s prosocial punishment to misinformation spreader

Nov 14th, 2023 | By | Category: RSS Feed


Prosocial punishments by social media bystanders could block the path from misinformation spread to social media-induced polarization (SMIP). However, prosocial punishments are inadequate for SMIP management because of the personal costs, and few studies propose effective ways to mobilize bystanders. The Chinese government implemented a regulation in 2017 to mobilize bystanders on social media through allocating accountability to act as misinformation supervisors. In China’s guanxi culture, prosocial punishments are less observed considering the additional personal costs caused by breaking guanxi. Therefore, assessing the effectiveness of China’s cyberspace accountability mobilization can help identify an effective tool for other governments to mitigate SMIP. We used a vignette survey experiment to collect data from WeChat users and applied a random regression model to analyse the data. Accountability mobilization significantly promotes bystanders’ prosocial punishment to block the misinformation-spread-to-SMIP path. Guanxi negatively moderates the relationship between accountability mobilization and prosocial punishment to the above path. The government could encourage the public to actively take prosocial punishments by using the new tool of accountability mobilization. Guanxi culture reduces the effectiveness of the tool.


Comments are closed.