"Living in a Post-Truth Era”: Theorising the Internet and Online Misinformation in Rural and Urban China
37 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2022
Contemporary China has seen a proliferation of Information and Communication Technologies. However, the rise of mobile technologies and digital media platforms have also led to disruptions in information practices, namely the rise of misinformation in Chinese cyber-sphere. The spread of rumours has not only influenced Internet users in developing countries such as China, but also threaten the well-being and social stability of Western democracies. Through extensive fieldwork in Central China, this paper examines the disruptive influence of digital technologies on everyday information seeking in China. The research takes a bottom-up perspective in studying how online misinformation influences everyday information seeking practices among rural and urban Internet users in China. The research triangulates quantitative and qualitative methods. We start with a quantitative analysis of identifying which social groups face challenges in identifying Internet advertisements and online rumours. The article then analyses why and how Chinese users are affected by online rumours, and how technology design might lead to an increase of misinformation produced on mobile news and social media. The study of misinformation in everyday life on Chinese Internet will also have implications for addressing online rumours in China and beyond.
Keywords: information seeking, China, false information, developing countries
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