How Fake News on Social Media Shapes Your Consumer Choices

How Fake News on Social Media Shapes Your Consumer Choices

The proliferation of fake news on social media (SM) platforms has become a pressing concern, exerting detrimental effects on businesses and consumer trust.

In today's digital landscape, while a plethora of information is present on various social media platforms, separating real truth from fake has become a formidable challenge. Several brands have their online integrity being questioned as messages communicated by them have in many instances been perceived by consumers as either false or not true, thereby leading to consumers losing trust or de-following their specific online brand.

While sometimes brand information can be authentic, but, with the spreading capabilities of these social media platforms and how sometimes information can be decoded and twisted, this raises several key crucial questions for businesses including:

  1. How can businesses thrive in this era of digital misinformation?
  2. What strategies can they employ to protect and enhance consumer trust while combating the detrimental effects of fake news?

To answer the above, research conducted in the intersection of marketing, psychology, and communication sciences has unveiled enlightening insights. It is found that understanding and addressing the complexities of consumer behaviour in response to fake news is not just a matter of chance but a strategic imperative for marketers.

The reason because, one of the key factors lies within the use of signalling cues, such as signal credibility and vendor reputation, as these play a pivotal role in mitigating the adverse consequences of fake news. By establishing a strong reputation and delivering credible signals, businesses can significantly reduce the erosion of consumer trust. It's about ensuring that the signals sent to consumers are perceived as trustworthy, thus bolstering the authenticity of your brand.  Also, from brand purchase standpoint, it is found in this research that brand bias plays a more pronounced role in shaping consumer choices. This suggests that in the midst of uncertainty fuelled by fake news, consumers tend to prioritize their brand perceptions over trust.

Hence, from a practical implication perspective, this research paves the way for actionable strategies. Businesses can harness the power of technology, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, to automatically detect fake news and take swift measures. To combat the impact of information asymmetry, transparent communication and the dissemination of detailed information can bridge the gap between consumers and vendors.

In uncertain conditions rife with fake news, consumers seek reassurance through signals and cues. Leveraging signal credibility and building a strong brand reputation are powerful ways to instil trust. It is a delicate dance between businesses, social media platforms, and consumers to navigate this digital misinformation era.

In conclusion, the challenge posed by fake news in the digital age necessitates a strategic response. Thought leadership in this field lies in understanding and implementing the insights provided by signalling theory and recognising the pivotal role of brand bias in consumer behaviour. By adopting these strategies and leveraging technology, businesses can protect and enhance consumer trust, ensuring that their brands emerge stronger during the digital misinformation storm.

Link to research article:

05 December 2023


Authors (in alphabetical order):

• Dr Alvedi Sabani

• Dr Argho Bandyopadhyay

• Dr Mohammad Hossain

05 December 2023


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RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.