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Telfer Research Seminar Series - Raghav Rao Healthier

Misinformation in the Context of Covid-19 Pandemic: An Investigation of Health Harm Characteristics and Related Social Media Conversations

Date & Time

March 17, 2023


DMS 7170


Kathy Cunningham

***M.Sc. Students, this event can count towards one of the six mandatory Research Seminars Series needed to attend (MHS6991 or MGT6991).***

Raghav Rao, PhD

In the environment of health crises, misinformation dissemination on social media has been shown to result in serious harms. In investigating misinformation harm, this research-in-progress focuses on the following research questions in the context of safety: (1) How can the perceptions of harm from misinformation be characterized in health crises, particularly for the COVID-19 pandemic misinformation? (2) What are the novel characteristics of harm perceptions from health crisis misinformation during COVID-19 global pandemic? (3) What are the types of social media conversations that are associated with certain characteristics of COVID-19 health crisis misinformation harm perceptions? Focusing on the COVID-19 context, we address these research questions through two studies: In Study 1, we adapt the psychometric paradigm as used in risk perception literature to misinformation harm perception and examine several COVID-19 misinformation scenarios. We discover that health misinformation harm can be characterized as three factors, i.e., unknown and dread (both of which are well known in the risk literature) and manageability (a concept that has hitherto not been discussed in the literature and is discovered in this research). In Study 2, we follow a data-driven approach that utilizes text mining to examine the association between harm perceptions and nature of communication in Twitterverse. We suggest propositions for future research. This research is one of the early attempts at quantitatively measuring health misinformation harms in the pandemic context. Our findings draw insights and suggestions for future related studies on misinformation harm. 

About the Speaker

Dr. H.R. Rao was named the AT&T Distinguished Chair in Infrastructure Assurance and Security at The University of Raghav Rao Texas at San Antonio Carlos Alvarez College of Business in January 2016. He also holds a courtesy appointment as full professor in the UTSA Department of Computer Science. Prior to working at UTSA, Professor Rao was the SUNY Distinguished Service Professor at the University at Buffalo. He graduated from Krannert Graduate School of Management at Purdue University.
Professor Rao was inducted into the UTSA Academy of Distinguished Researchers in 2019. His interests are in the areas of management information systems, decision support systems, e-business, emergency response management systems and information assurance and artificial intelligence. He has chaired sessions at international conferences and presented numerous papers. He also has co-edited four books, including Information Assurance Security and Privacy Services and Information Assurance in Financial Services. He has authored or co-authored more than 200 technical papers, of which more than 125 are published in archival journals.
Dr. Rao was the recipient of the AIS fellow award for 2021. Professor Rao was the inaugural recipient of The Bright Internet Award for his contributions to the information systems discipline by KMIS, the Korea Society of Management Information Systems. In 2018 Professor Rao was awarded the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) Outstanding Service Award for significant service contributions to the field of information systems and information systems security. In November 2016, Professor Rao received the prestigious Information Systems Society Distinguished Fellow Award (Class of 2016) for outstanding intellectual contributions to the information systems discipline.
Rao’s work has received best paper and best paper runner up awards at ISR, AMCIS and ICIS. He has received funding for his research from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense and the Canadian Embassy. He also received the Fulbright fellowship in 2004.
Rao is a past chair of IFIP WG 8.11/11.13, the working group for Information Systems Security Research. He is co-editor in chief of Information Systems Frontiers, advisory editor of Decision Support Systems, associate editor of ACM TMIS and senior editor at MIS Quarterly.
He has placed Ph.D. students at Sogang U, UNCG, ASU, USF, FAU, MSU, OK State, FSU, Penn State, University of Warwick and others.
Rao was ranked No. 3 in publication productivity internationally in a 2011 Communications of the Association for Information Systems study. In August 2020, Rao’s h-index was 64 and his i-10 index was 178. He is a graduate of the FBI Citizens Academy.

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