Categorizing Young Facebook Users Based on Their Differential Preference of Social Media Heuristics: A Q-Methodology Approach

Duy Dang-Pham, Long Nguyen, Ai-Phuong Hoang, Siddhi Pittayachawan, Mohammadreza Akbari, Mathews Nkhoma

Abstract


Background: Social media have become an integral part of our modern society by providing platforms for users to create and exchange news, ideas, and information. The increasing use of social media has raised concerns about the reliability of the shared information, particularly information that is generated from anonymous users. Though prior studies have confirmed the important roles of heuristics and cues in the users’ evaluation of trustworthy information, there has been no research–to our knowledge–that categorized Facebook users based on their approaches to evaluating information credibility.

Method: We employed Q-methodology to extract insights from 55 young Vietnamese users and to categorize them into different groups based on the distinct sets of heuristics that they used to evaluate the trustworthiness of online information on Facebook.

Results: We identified four distinct types of young Facebook user groups that emerged based on their evaluation of online information trustworthiness. When evaluating online information trustworthiness on Facebook, these user groups assigned priorities differently to the characteristics of the online content, its original source, and the sharers or aggregators. We named these groups: (1) the balanced analyst, (2) the critical analyst, (3) the source analyst, and (4) the social network analyst.

Conclusion: The findings offer insights that contribute to information processing literature. Moreover, marketing practitioners who aim to disseminate information effectively on social networks should take these user groups’ perspectives into consideration.


Keywords


Social Media; Social Network; Information Trustworthiness; Information Credibility; Credibility Heuristics.

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Citation: Dang-Pham, D., Nguyen, L., Hoang, A. P., Pittayachawan, S., Akbari, M., & Nkhoma, M. (2021). Categorizing young Facebook users based on their differential preference of social media heuristics: A Q-methodology approach. Pacific Asia Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 13(1), 71-96. https://doi.org/10.17705/1pais.13103