Impact of Social Media News Overload on Social Media News Avoidance and Filtering: Moderating Effect of Media Literacy

Frontiers in Psychology 13 (2022)
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Abstract

In the present era of information technology, people tend to seek out news to enhance their current knowledge and awareness and to gain literacy. The reliance on seeking out news and relevant information has become very necessary to accomplish personal and organizational objectives. The present study has undertaken an inquiry to investigate the impact of social media news overload on news avoidance and news filtering with the mediating and moderating mechanisms of the need for news and media literacy, respectively. For this purpose, data were obtained from 358 Chinese social media users through the aid of survey forms. The data obtained were then analyzed through Smart-PLS software. The statistical technique used for analysis is structural equation modeling to determine the validity of the proposed hypotheses. The results of the study indicated that social media news overload has a significant effect on news avoidance, the need for news, and news filtering behavior. It was also observed that the need for news had a significant impact on news avoidance. In addition to this, it was also revealed that the need for news significantly mediated the relationship between social media news overload and news avoidance; however, it did not mediate the relationship between social media news overload and news filtering. Lastly, it was identified that media literacy significantly moderated the relationship between the need for news and news avoidance and it did not moderate the relationship between the need for news and news filtering behavior. This study has made important theoretical contributions by advancing the current literature in terms of the empirical evidence that indicates a significant relationship between social media news overload, news avoidance, and news filtering. Practically, this study contributed by emphasizing the need to encourage and train people to use strategies to seek relevant news in a vast repository of information available through information technology.

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