Article

Linking social networks to utilitarian benefits through counter-knowledge

Journal ar
Online Information Review
  • Volumen: 39
  • Número: 2
  • Fecha: 01 January 2015
  • Páginas: 179-196
  • ISSN: 14684527
  • Source Type: Journal
  • DOI: 10.1108/OIR-12-2014-0307
  • Document Type: Article
  • Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Ltd.Howard HouseWagon Lane, BingleyBD16 1WA
© Emerald Group Publishing Limited.Purpose: Social networking sites (SNS) enable users to create their own public profiles within a web site. In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of people spreading misleading information or rumours (i.e. counter-knowledge) about friends and other people thanks to social media platforms. The purpose of this paper is to identify the role played by social networks in the process of creating counter-knowledge, focusing on the counter-knowledge that users develop in the context of SNS and its effect on utilitarian benefits. Design/methodology/approach: This study analyses these effects through an empirical investigation of 236 users of SNSs. The methodology involves the construction and analysis of a structural equation model from a review of relevant literature. Findings: The results confirm that, although the context of SNSs is a variable that will lead to positive effects on counter-knowledge, the relationship between counter-knowledge and utilitarian benefits becomes statistically insignificant. The results also showed that the content on social networks may lead to higher levels of utilitarian benefits. This either amplifies or helps to encourage cooperation among users and providers of rumours, beliefs and assumptions about what they think is the truth. Originality/value: From a user perspective, few, if any, studies of SNS have considered the relationship between the information collected and generated by SNS and counter-knowledge. Therefore, the results of this study lead the authors to advise managers of SNSs considering that most but not all the content on SNSs is associated with the spread of rumours, misinformation and unverified claims.

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