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New Publication: The Influence of Media Trust and Normative Role Expectations on the Credibility of Fact Checkers

News from Jun 01, 2022

Fact-checking has been granted a pivotal role in mitigating the effects of online disinformation, but its effectiveness has nonetheless been questioned (Lee and Shin 2019). Like any persuasive communication, fact checkers depend on their recipients perceiving both their messages and them as credible (Lombardi, Seyranian, and Sinatra 2014; Lombardi, Nussbaum, and Sinatra 2016). Florian Primig’s study “The Influence of Media Trust and Normative Role Expectations on the Credibility of Fact Checkers” investigates the role of the perceived credibility of the fact checker as possible detriment to the effectiveness of fact-checking efforts. Therefore, an online survey-embedded experiment is conducted, in which German social media users judge the credibility of fact checks referring the COVID-19 pandemic. Results show that the perceived credibility of the fact checker and fact-checking messages is best explained by normative expectations of the roles of fact checkers and trust in traditional media. Some users perceive fact checkers as elite power structures in journalism or, in other words, as collaborative-facilitators for state propaganda (Hanitzsch and Vos 2018; see also Fawzi 2020). Further, low trust in media and politics predicts perceived credibility of disinformation better than political partisanship. The findings suggest that fact checkers should be more transparent and proactive in communicating their motives and identities.

The article is published in Journalism Practiceand can be retrieved here.

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