Purpose: The purpose of this study is to investigate individuals’ perceptions and behavior when dealing with misinformation on social media platforms. While misinformation is not a new phenomenon, the COVID-19 outbreak has accelerated its spread through social media outlets, leading to widespread exposure to false or misleading information. This exposure can have serious consequences on individuals’ decision-making and behavior, especially when it comes to critical decisions related to education or healthcare. The use of social media as a source of information makes it essential to understand how people perceive and respond to misinformation to develop effective strategies for mitigating its harmful effects. Design/methodology/approach: This large-scale study explores the Omani individuals’ perceptions and behaviour of misinformation on the social Web in a series of studies that seek to enhance the authorities’ response to misinformation. The study adopted a quantitative approach to collect data. Using WhatsApp as a social networking platform, a survey was disseminated to capture participants’ perceptions and behaviour among different segments of citizens in Oman. Findings: The findings showed that Omani participants have high verification skills, implying high information literacy skills among them. Additionally, results indicated that misinformation had created doubt and anxiety among the participants. Moreover, it hindered many participants’ ability to take countermeasures and obtain reliable data. Originality/value: This study was a large-scale study conducted in Oman, making it one of a few studies conducted in the region about perceptions and behaviour towards misinformation. The findings help to understand how different cultures interacted with COVID-19 misinformation. In addition, these findings offer useful insight that can help health information professionals to design preventive resources that help people to obtain accurate information during crises.
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