What Should I Believe? Exploring Information Validity on Social Network Platforms

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Social network (SN) platforms have become ubiquitous in most countries. However, the reliability of the information shared and the structural mechanisms that govern the discussions is constantly being questioned. There is a need for understanding the mechanism for information dissemination and developing decision aids that can help decipher information validity. Our context is the support provided within the mental health community where the diseases are typically chronic and the need for social and medical support is obvious. We employ an analytics approach in the context of social capital theory (SCT) to study the relationship between the structural makeup (i.e., influence) of a user and the characteristics of the knowledge disseminated on a microblogging platform. Different types of information provide various types of support to patients. This paper provides a foundational theoretical framework to create decision aids so that users can decide on relevant information for their needs.

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