Visibility of health news outlet attributions on facebook : outcomes for credibility perceptions and recall
The internet has become a major source of health information, and the usergenerated content found online, especially on social media, makes health misinformation a serious concern (Yang & Beatty, 2016). Two-thirds of U.S. adults now get news from social media (Pew Research Center, 2017c). Social media removes the traditional "gatekeepers" that control the flow of health information. As a result, fringe views can reach many more people (Kata, 2012). At the same time, public trust in and credibility of the U.S. media is at a near-record low (Gallup News Service, 2017; Pew Research Center, 2011). This study therefore investigated how social media users form credibility perceptions of posts from mainstream news organizations, using heuristics formed from both platform features and source cues, based on Sundar's (2008) MAIN model. A 2x2 factorial, between-subjects design was used, with the independent variables of news outlet visibility (as it normally appears on Facebook, or in an enlarged format) and news outlet reputation (high, as represented by the BBC, or low, as represented by the Huffington Post). Results suggest that increasing the size of news outlet attribution on Facebook does indeed increase recall of the outlet name, but the effects of this size increase on credibility perceptions within my small sample of 205 participants were not significant. Alternative explanations are offered through the use of exploratory analysis.