Social Marginalization Motivates Indiscriminate Sharing of COVID-19 News on Social Media

Youjung Jun, Gita Venkataramani Johar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


We find that people who experience social marginalization are more likely to share COVID-19 news indiscriminately, that is, sharing news that is factually untrue and true, as well as news that seems surprising and unsurprising. This effect, driven by their general motivation to seek meaning, holds when people self-identify as being socially marginalized (i.e., experiencing frequent feelings of discrimination) and when they are situationally induced to feel marginalized. We demonstrate that an intervention to help people obtain a temporary sense of meaning by having high (vs. low) power can reduce indiscriminate news sharing. For socially marginalized individuals, sharing news on social media appears to reflect a need to make sense of their world and comprehend it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-114
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Association for Consumer Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jan

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Association for Consumer Research. All rights reserved.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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