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What drives people to repost social media messages during the COVID‐19 pandemic? Evidence from the Weibo news microblog

Jiayin Pei, Zhi Lu and Xiaoming Yang

Growth and Change, 2022, vol. 53, issue 4, 1609-1626

Abstract: COVID‐19 poses an unprecedented challenge to human society. To cope with the pandemic, people seek information from various communication channels. Microblog websites are highly influential information channels for the public to get timely information during the pandemic. Building on the heuristic‐systematic processing model, this study identifies the multiple characteristics (content, author, and social features) that may play a role in triggering long cascades of reposts of COVID‐19‐related news microblogs. With a large‐scale news microblog database collected from Weibo and an innovative information gain method, we find that heuristic thinking plays a dominant role in COVID‐19 pandemic‐related news microblog reposting decisions and further discloses the specific influencing factors of such behavior.

Date: 2022
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