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Words matter: How privacy concerns and conspiracy theories spread on Twitter

Visentin, Marco, Tuan, Annamaria and Di Domenico, Giandomenico 2021. Words matter: How privacy concerns and conspiracy theories spread on Twitter. Psychology and Marketing 38 (10) , pp. 1828-1846. 10.1002/mar.21542

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The use of contact-tracing apps to curb the spreading of the COVID-19 pandemic has stimulated social media debates on consumers' privacy concerns about the use and storage of sensitive data and on conspiracy theories positing that these apps are part of plans against individuals' freedom. By analyzing the type of language of tweets, we found which words, linguistic style, and emotions conveyed by tweets are more likely to be associated with consumers' privacy concerns and conspiracy theories and how they affect virality. To do so, we analyze a set of 5615 tweets related to the Italian tracing app “Immuni”. Results suggest that consumers' privacy concerns and conspiracy theories belong to different domains and exert different effects on the virality of tweets. Furthermore, the characteristics of the text (namely, complexity, certainty and emotions) cue different Twitter users' behaviors. This study helps researchers and managers to infer the psychological mechanisms that lead people to spread tweets about privacy concerns and conspiracy theories as well as how these texts impact the user who receives it.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0742-6046
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 15 June 2022
Date of Acceptance: 18 June 2021
Last Modified: 08 May 2023 14:09

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