Author ORCID Identifier


Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Victoria Yoon

Second Advisor

Yeongin Kim

Third Advisor

Dorothy Leidner

Fourth Advisor

Xiaojin Liu


Misinformation has spread rapidly through social media and recently become a concern. Accordingly, social media platforms have intervened to prevent the spread of misinformation, using such means as labeling photos or videos of misleading articles (i.e., “flagging”) and displaying links to fact-checking sites online. Although the development of various interventions can reduce the consumption of misinformation, it has not yet effectively controlled its spread. One factor that particularly influences individual decisions, namely, emojis accompanying articles on social media, has received little attention in the context of intervening in misinformation. I studied the effect of emojis on article believability and user engagement. Drawing on how emotions operate in social information theory, I built a research model and validated it using online experiments. I found that emojis affect readers' belief in the article’s headline and behavior toward the article. Despite the warning message, a positive emoji leads readers to believe the article’s headline and engage further with it. Specifically, for groups that flagging affects less, positive emojis directly encourage readers to act on the article. This study contributes to the literature on the role and social influence of emojis as a medium of emotions, in the context of researching misinformation on social media and based on social influence literature, theories of emotion, and EASI theory. The findings can help social media policymakers design strategies to mitigate the spread of misinformation.


© Seonjun Kang

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Available for download on Saturday, August 05, 2028