"COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a surge in the amount of fake news circulating on the Internet. However, despite the global bearing of the coronavirus pandemic, there is a significant variance in the propensity of COVID-19 related fake news instances across nations. To better understand the national-level factors contributing to the spread of fake news during the current pandemic, we theorise and examine the relationships of “mobile connectivity” and “freedom” (economic, political, and media) in a nation, with fake news propensity. We test the proposed model through a unique dataset comprising 72 countries generated by combining 6 independent cross-country data sources. We find that “mobile connectivity” and “political freedom” in a nation contribute to COVID-19 related fake news propensity, whereas “economic” and “media freedom” inhibit it. Our study provides preliminary insights into the mechanisms through which national-level systemic resources can be leveraged for battling the spread of fake news during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. In addition, our study offers several important implications for governments and policymakers that we believe will be instrumental in stimulating future research on the subject."
Written by Anuragini Shirish, Shirish C.Srivastava and Shalini Chandra, Taylor and Francis Online (20201).