“Why do people share fake news?

Online trust, self-disclosure, fear of missing out (FOMO), and social media fatigue prompt people to spread rumours and falsehoods online, as per a study by Dr. Shalini Talwar, Associate Professor, Department of Finance and Law, K J Somaiya Institute of Management Studies & Research (SIMSR).

The study titled “Why do people share fake news? Associations between the dark side of social media use and fake news sharing behaviour” was published in the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services (JRCS). Dr Talwar collaborated with researchers in Finland, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to undertake this novel study.


“The fear of missing out grips individuals when they feel excluded from their social or peer group”


Dr. Shalini Talwar

We had a chat with Dr Shalini Talwar on her research:


About the research

The study examined the empirical associations between the dark side of online social media and fake news sharing behaviour of social media users. The explanatory constructs that constituted the proposed research model were social media fatigue, fear of missing out (FOMO), social comparison, self-disclosure and online trust.


What were the findings?

The study results revealed that online trust, self-disclosure, fear of missing out (FOMO), and social media fatigue are positively associated with the sharing of fake news (intentionally). In contrast, social comparison has a negative association. The study findings also indicated that online trust has negative association with authenticating news before sharing.


How many subjects were involved?

A large cross-sectional data from 1022 social media users was collected to test the research model, formulated using social comparison theory, self-determination theory, rational choice theory and seminal work on psychology and communication.


How long did it take?

One year from conceptualization to publishing.


What was the analysis?

The conceptual model hypothesized the relationship of the selected antecedents, namely, online trust, self-disclosure, FOMO, social comparison and social media fatigue with sharing fake news and authenticating fake news before sharing online. The model was tested using SPSS 23 (IBM Corp. 2017) and AMOS 23. First, confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) for the measurement model was performed to examine the model fit indices and different forms of validity and reliability. Afterwards, the structural path and different hypotheses were assessed using structural equation modelling (SEM).