The effect of threat and proximity on cyber-rumor sharing

Rohit Valecha, Tejaswi Volety, K. Hazel Kwon, H. Raghav Rao

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


Today’s society faces a paramount challenge from cyber-rumors that become rapidly viral and transform into more harmful impacts in social networks. The problem of cyber-rumors is further exacerbated in the health crisis context. In the healthcare literature, it has been well established that threat situations facilitate citizens’ behavior including cyber-rumor sharing. In this paper, we argue that in the healthcare context, both the threat attribute and cyber-rumor sharing are likely to be influenced by the proximity to health crisis. We argue that proximity is an important indicator of newsworthiness and shareworthiness in social media. In accordance, we investigate how the concept of proximity affects diffusion characteristics of cyber-rumor messages. We address the following research questions associated with cyber-rumor sharing in the context of Zika virus: How does proximity affect the threat appeal in a cyber-rumor message? How does proximity influence cyber-rumor sharing? The results indicate the negative effect of spatial and temporal distance on threat appeal, and the negative effect of spatial distance on cyber-rumor sharing. Such an investigation allows us to quickly identify the emergence of viral rumor messages and monitor the ongoing development of these messages in a timely manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSecure Knowledge Management In Artificial Intelligence Era - 8th International Conference, SKM 2019, Proceedings
EditorsSanjay K. Sahay, Nihita Goel, Vishwas Patil, Murtuza Jadliwala
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9789811538162
StatePublished - 2020
Event8th International Conference on Secure Knowledge Management in Artificial Intelligence Era, SKM 2019 - Pilani, India
Duration: Dec 21 2019Dec 22 2019

Publication series

NameCommunications in Computer and Information Science
Volume1186 CCIS
ISSN (Print)1865-0929
ISSN (Electronic)1865-0937


Conference8th International Conference on Secure Knowledge Management in Artificial Intelligence Era, SKM 2019


  • Cyber-rumor sharing
  • Proximity
  • Rumor
  • Threat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • General Mathematics


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