A rumor is a story, usually unverified, that is spread from one person to another. Rumors can have a variety of uses, such as humiliating someone, breaking up a relationship, or taking down a government. However, it’s important to understand the difference between a true rumor and an untrue rumor before starting one.
A person who likes to spread rumors is called a rumormonger or rumorist. They can have many different reasons for spreading them, such as jealousy, a desire to bring down their target’s reputation, or just because they’re a gossipy person.
People who have high anxiety or a situational anxious personality tend to be more prone to creating rumors, as they are trying to relieve some of their insecurities and are unsure of what they should believe. They are also more likely to create rumors that are not relevant, as they may think that the information will be popular or will interest others.
In addition, people who are in an ambiguous or a high information importance situation tend to be more prone to creating rumor, as they are not sure what they should believe or what information will be popular. This is why people who are in a relationship with their rumormongering partner need to be sure that they understand the four components of managing rumors: Anxiety (situational and personality), ambiguity, information importance, and verification/proof.
The emergence of rumors in a closed-loop communication environment is an issue that requires timely management and responses. This study evaluated the dissemination of rumors and their influence on social media users during a major public crisis.
During the COVID-19 epidemic, a number of rumors were disseminated on the internet in China. These rumors prompted panic and led to a public health emergency. In response, authorities have taken measures to quickly identify and dispel rumors. They also have published the results of their investigation to the public in real time, which has alleviated panic and reduced rumor awareness.
According to our research, the most common origins of rumors are chat tools such as WeChat and Tencent QQ. This is because these platforms are popular in China and can help disseminate information in a wide range of formats. In addition, a significant proportion of rumors were released in multimedia formats or in combination with text format.
The most common rumor publishing platform was WeChat; other platforms, including Tencent QQ and web pages, were less common. In addition, the rumors were more often disseminated in text format than other formats.
Weibo was also a prominent platform for the initial publication of rumors. This is because Weibo is a Twitter-like platform that enables users to post and discuss events or opinions.
Our findings suggest that social media users are more likely to recognize rumors when they have a positive attitude and are willing to verify the authenticity of the information. Therefore, social media users should be encouraged to identify rumors and take appropriate measures in emergencies when their attitudes are favorable.