Abstract

Purpose The goal of this study is to examine how tweets containing distinct emotions (i.e., emotional tweets) and different information types (i.e., misinformation, corrective information, and others) are prevalent during the initial phase of mass shootings and furthermore, how users engage in those tweets. Design/methodology/approach The researchers manually coded 1,478 tweets posted between August 3-11, 2019, in the immediate aftermath of the El Paso and Dayton mass shootings. This manual coding approach systematically examined the distinct emotions and information types of each tweet. Findings The authors found that, on Twitter, misinformation was more prevalent than correction during crises and a large portion of misinformation had negative emotions (i.e., anger, sadness, and anxiety), while correction featured anger. Notably, sadness-exhibiting tweets were more likely to be retweeted and liked by users, but tweets containing other emotions (i.e., anger, anxiety, and joy) were less likely to be retweeted and liked. Research limitations/implications Only a portion of the larger conversation was manually coded. However, the current study provides an overall picture of how tweets are circulated during crises in terms of misinformation and correction, and moreover, how emotions and information types alike influence engagement behaviors. Originality/value The pervasive anger-laden tweets about mass shooting incidents might contribute to hostile narratives and eventually reignite political polarization. The notable presence of anger in correction tweets further suggests that those who are trying to provide correction to misinformation also rely on emotion. Moreover, our study suggests that displays of sadness could function in a way that leads individuals to rely on false claims as a coping strategy to counteract uncertainty. Peer review The peer review history for this article is available at:


Authors

Lee, Jiyoung;  Kanthawala, Shaheen;  Britt, Brian C.;  Deavours, Danielle F.;  Ott-Fulmore, Tanya

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  • 1 reviewer
  • pre-publication peer review (FINAL ROUND)
    Decision Letter
    2021/07/20

    20-Jul-2021

    Dear Lee, Jiyoung; Kanthawala, Shaheen; Britt, Brian; Deavours, Danielle; Ott-Fulmore, Tanya

    It is a pleasure to accept your manuscript OIR-03-2021-0121.R1, entitled "Prevalence of Anger, Engaged in Sadness: Engagement in Misinformation, Correction, and Emotional Tweets during Mass Shootings" in its current form for publication in Online Information Review. Please note, no further changes can be made to your manuscript.

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    Decision letter by
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    Reviewer report
    2021/07/15

    Thank you for addressing my questions/comments carefully. The revised manuscript is significantly improved.

    Reviewed by
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    Reviewer report
    2021/06/09

    The authors did great work addressing all the issues and comments mentioned by this reviewer. I recommend this paper to be published in OIR.

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    Author Response
    2021/06/01

    RESPONSES TO REVIEWERS’ COMMENTS:
    Reviewer: 1

    Recommendation: Major Revision

    Comments:
    This manuscript explores the reactions and types of information (or misinformation) posted and re-posted on Twitter during the El Paso mass shooting event in 2019. The authors did some substantial work for their data analysis. However, some decent work should be done in order to improve and update the theoretical background and framework.

    RESPONSE: We are grateful for your feedback on our paper. Please see below for our point-by-point responses to your comments and concerns. All changes we have made are highlighted in red in our manuscript.

    Additional Questions:
    Originality: Does the paper make a significant theoretical, empirical and/or methodological contribution to an area of importance, within the scope of the journal?:
    This paper is original and brings several refreshing points of view, thanks to a substantial data analysis. I believe this paper can contribute to the existing body of knowledge dealing with users' reactions to crisis, high-risk events, and of course, mass-shooting and acts of terror. However, for this to happen, I believe some relevant work should be addressed for building a concrete theoretical background.

    RESPONSE: Thank you for your positive comments.

    Relationship to Literature: Does the paper demonstrate an adequate understanding of the relevant literature in the field and cite an appropriate range of literature sources? Is any significant work ignored? Is the literature review up-to-date? Has relevant material published in Online Information Review been cited?:
    The lack of relevant and recent literature is the weak point of this manuscript. I am surprised that the authors did such substantial work without reviewing the most relevant studies addressing this issue of social media users' reaction to a crisis event, and even more specifically to mass shooting events. I suggest to them to refer to the relevant work done regarding the Boston Marathon bombing event. (e.g., Buntain et al., 2016; Hunt et al., 2020; Croitoru et al., 2020 etc.,). Also, before addressing this type of work, a broad framework of social media use during general crisis events should be introduced.

    RESPONSE: We sincerely thank you for your points, which were helpful to reinforce the overall logics of our paper. In the section titled “Misinformation and Correction on Mass Shootings in Social Media Ecology,” we have added previous literature on (1) social media use during general crisis events and (2) social media users’ responses to crises (particularly relevant to mass shooting events, including the pieces that the reviewer recommended). Please see below for the revised parts and added literature.

    REVISION:
    (pp.4-6) However, research has suggested that social media can serve as a double-edged sword in an uncertain climate, such that it can be effectively utilized to debunk misinformation while at the same time facilitating the diffusion of false information (Stewart & Wilson, 2016).
    (...) Empirical work has shown that individuals rely on social media during crises and emergency situations for various reasons, including to exchange real-time information or interact with their close networks such as their family and friends (Austin et al., 2012; Saroj & Pal, 2020). However, such heavy reliance on social media in crises can also increase susceptibility and exposure to misinformation, given that the flow of information and misinformation within social media can go together (Tandoc Jr. et al., 2020). Indeed, a study by Starbird (2017) on mass shooting events found that alternative narratives of the events on Twitter were widely diffused and mostly fueled by unverified, alternative sources. In line with this argument, scholars have suggested that the collective sensemaking of the tragedy, which may reduce uncertainty and increase individuals’ sense of control by offering alternative narratives for the event, can cause social media users to be misled by deceptive or counterfactual claims (Starbird, 2017; Van Prooijen et al., 2015). Such phenomena have emerged as concerns given users’ tendencies to engage with online communities after crises, reinforcing the spread of low-quality information (Samory & Mitra, 2018).
    Therefore, it is important to understand how crisis-related misinformation spreads on social media, where large networks of users quickly receive massive amounts of information that frequently originates from unverifiable sources. Buntain et al. (2016), for instance, observed significant increases in tweets, retweets, and hashtags relevant to multiple events of terrorism, including the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, the 2014 Sydney Hostage crisis, and the 2015 Charlie Hebdo shooting, highlighting the role of social media in emerging discourses—especially conspiratorial claims—during mass shooting events. Despite their emergence immediately after the crises, however, such conversations appeared to gradually decay within several days (Buntain et al., 2016; Croitoru et al., 2020). This suggests that public social media responses to mass shooting events generate unique contexts, which are distinct from the discourses that traditional media outlets typically facilitate (Croitoru et al., 2020). Although these studies did not specifically address the prevalence of falsehoods in online discourses about man-made crises, the rapid rise and distinct contexts of social media conversations immediately after those events imply the need to examine the intrinsic features of social media posts and users’ engagement with such posts.
    In the face of widely prevalent misinformation, other parties including news organizations, fact-checking organizations, and individual users strive to assess the veracity of social media posts (including by using machine learning techniques to rapidly process large quantities of posts; see Hunt et al., 2020) and spread corrective information on social media, yet their efforts do not always achieve the desired persuasive outcomes due to backfire effects of correction (Jiang & Wilson, 2018). Given this, the current study first seeks to understand how misinformation and correction flowed in the aftermath of two mass shootings that occurred within hours of each other: one in El Paso, Texas and the second in Dayton, Ohio.

    Methodology: Is the paper's argument built on an appropriate base of theory, concepts or other ideas? Has the research on which the paper is based been well designed? Are the methods employed appropriate and fully explained? Have issues of research ethics been adequately identified and addressed?:
    Yes, the research design is well described and explained.

    RESPONSE: Thank you.

    Results: For empirical papers - are results presented clearly and analysed appropriately?:
    Yes.

    RESPONSE: Thank you.

    Discussion/Argument: Is the relation between any empirical findings and previous work discussed? Does the paper present a robust and coherent argument? To what extent does the paper engage critically with the literature and findings? Are theoretical concepts articulated well and used appropriately? Do the conclusions adequately tie together the other elements of the paper?:
    The discussion and the argument of the paper is presented clearly. However, the literature review still lacks relevant work to be addressed and engaged more thoroughly in the discussion.

    RESPONSE: Thank you for pointing this out. Relevant to the aforementioned revisions on the literature review section, we have also revised the discussion section by integrating with the literature review accordingly, as below.

    REVISION:
    (p.18) (…) This provides evidence supporting the argument that misinformation tends to be pervasive on social media, especially in risky situations in which people experience high levels of uncertainty (e.g., Samory & Mitra, 2018; Starbird, 2017; Starbird et al., 2015). As an extension upon previous research on people’s tendencies to make sense of an uncertain situation to fill gaps in their understanding (Kou et al., 2017), our results show that such collective sensemaking can encourage misinformation posting and sharing.
    (p.18) Given how rapidly social media discourses about crisis events emerge (Buntain et al., 2016), our results suggest that social media platforms must devote an especially concerted effort toward tracking and curbing the spread of misinformation immediately after such incidents.
    (p.21) On the other hand, it must also be noted that sadness, in the context of this study, occurred on a fast-moving social media platform on which users may experience information overload during ongoing crises (Kaufhold et al., 2020) and heavily rely on cues and heuristics to make judgments about the information (Metzger & Flanagin, 2013).
    (pp.22-23) This may be because factual information is less novel, or it could be because misinformation serves the purpose of giving users alternative explanations for tragic events that they have witnessed (Starbird, 2017) while correction tweets that remind them of the harsh reality do not have the same psychological appeal. Either way, this finding, tentative though it may be, has dire implications for efforts to combat online misinformation during a crisis, and it implies the need for crisis managers and social media professionals to invest in more effective correction strategies that can attract users’ engagement.

    Implications for research, practice and/or society: Does the paper identify clearly any implications for research, practice and/or society? Does the paper bridge the gap between theory and practice? How can the research be used in practice (economic and commercial impact), in teaching, to influence public policy, in research (contributing to the body of knowledge)? What is the impact upon society (influencing public attitudes, affecting quality of life)? Are these implications consistent with the findings and conclusions of the paper?:
    The paper, in its current form, can contribute to teaching, public policy, and advocacy. In order for the paper to bridge properly the gap between the theory and practice, the authors should re-think their literature review.

    RESPONSE: We appreciate your positive views on our piece. As we responded to your above comments, we have thoroughly revised the literature review on social media use during general crisis events and social media users’ responses to crises (particularly relevant to mass shooting events).

    Quality of Communication: Does the paper clearly express its case, measured against the technical language of the fields and the expected knowledge of the journal's readership? Has attention been paid to the clarity of expression and readability, such as sentence structure, jargon use, acronyms, etc.:
    The paper is presented very clearly and is very readable.
    However, I would like to suggest the authors to re-shape the research questions' way of presentation. This section's current form as it is combined and integrated into the background is not clear and coherent enough. I would really like to see a distinct section of the RQs.
    Also, the paper does not include research hypotheses, which is understandable, so the authors are requested to correct the sentence in line 31/p.10 accordingly.

    RESPONSE: Taking your suggestions, we have created a separate section of the RQs, which now reads on p.9. We also thank you for pointing out our typo. We have revised the sentence by removing the word “hypotheses.” (originally in line 31/p.10).
    REVISION:
    (p.9) Research Questions
    Based on the discussions above, we propose the following research questions on the prevalence of information types in the early phases of mass shooting events (RQ1), the expressed distinct emotions in tweets (RQ2), and how information types and distinct emotional content of tweets are associated with user engagement activities (retweeting and liking: RQ3 and RQ4). Answering these questions will advance our comprehensive understanding of how certain message features, specifically related to veracity and distinct emotions, attract more engagement from users on social media.
    RQ1: How prevalent were misinformation tweets vs. correction tweets in the El Paso and Dayton mass shooting events?
    RQ2: Which discrete emotions were dominant in (a) misinformation tweets and (b) correction tweets?
    RQ3: How do information type (i.e., misinformation, correction, others) and emotional content (i.e., anger, sadness, anxiety, joy) affect the number of retweets that a given tweet receives?
    RQ4: How do information type (i.e., misinformation, correction, others) and emotional content (i.e., anger, sadness, anxiety, joy) affect the number of likes that a given tweet receives?

    Reviewer: 2

    Recommendation: Minor Revision

    Comments:
    The manuscript focuses on a timely issue of how misinformation spreads on social media during mass shootings. The comparative analysis of El Paso and Dayton shootings is contextualized well and the focus on the role of emotion in facilitating engagement in misinformation and correction has the potential to make unique contributions to scholarship on social media and information distribution studies. While the manuscript is well-written overall and interesting to read, the size of data relevant to the focus of the study is small, which could potentially limit the contributions of the study. Also, the following sections could be clarified and strengthened further:

    RESPONSE: We are grateful for your feedback on our paper. Please see below for our point-by-point responses to your comments and concerns. All changes we have made are highlighted in red in our manuscript.

    Methodology:
    Dataset:
    Page 9, Line 29 - 31, "From the full dataset, 1,478 tweets including original tweets, retweets, and replies was selected for manual coding and further analyses." Elaborate on this statement -- were the retweets included in the sample of the original tweets? Were any efforts made to make sure that you have equal numbers of posts for the two events?

    RESPONSE: Thank you for pointing out the lack of detail in our explanation of the tweet sample. We have included the following sentence clarifying the issue on Page 11.
    REVISION:
    (p.11) This sample included a combination of original tweets, retweets (including those of original tweets), and replies. Because the El Paso event had more rumors surrounding it as compared to Dayton, as shown in Table 1, the number of posts included in the sample were not equal for both events.

    Coding Categories:
    Page 10, line 31, you write: Based on the proposed research questions and hypotheses, each tweet was coded for the following......, but no hypotheses are included in the paper, so either correct the statement or add your hypotheses.

    RESPONSE: Thank you for pointing out our typo. We have revised the sentence by removing the word “hypotheses.”

    The sample tweets included explaining coding of anxiety and joy seem to be weak. Consider adding more representative tweets or more sources to support your coding scheme.

    RESPONSE: We thank the reviewers for pointing out this confusion. In order to clarify these emotions we have included an additional example for anxiety related tweets (which are negative but hinge on apprehension, fear, or worry generally), and an example for joy related tweets (which are positive from an emotional standpoint and generally hinge on joyous or exuberant emotion, whether the message is good or bad). We hope this clarifies the coding of these items. The two new tweets can be found below (in Table 2).
    REVISION:
    Anxiety: “If Antifa Follows Through And Heads To El Paso, I'm Worried This Will…”
    Joy: Good Morning Patriots WalkAway's, Followers On MAGA Rise Up Against Democrats,What Obama Did To USA🙏We Must Never Forget Our God Justice!Love President Trump,Military, Blue,ICE! Shut Down Fake News💯 Thank You All Daily That Stand Up For Constitution! TRUMP MEDIA 💯

    Create a table showing the breakdown of information types and tweets for each of the shootings together with engagement scores.

    RESPONSE: Thank you for this useful comment. Based on your feedback, we have added a new table (now given as Table 4 on p.37) that showcases the engagement levels for tweets containing different information types that were made in response to each of the two mass shootings evaluated in this study.

    Discussion:
    Page 16, line 38 - 42: "First, our results indicate that misinformation is comparatively prevalent in content on social media compared to correction during crises, although the largest amount of content in our whole data was general information regarding the mass shootings." This statement could be tempered a bit more, given the small sample size and a large number of tweets focusing on general information.

    RESPONSE: We thank the reviewers for pointing this out. The sentence has been edited as indicated below.
    REVISION:
    (p.18) First, although the largest amount of content in the original data set was general information regarding the mass shootings, our results indicate that on social media, misinformation does occur more prominently than correction during crises.
    In your limitation, you might want to acknowledge that since the keywords and hashtags used to download data were derived from misinformation claims, it is possible that tweets with corrections could have been overlooked. As they might not have used the same keywords.

    RESPONSE: We appreciate this helpful suggestion. As you advised, on pp.23-24, we now more extensively address the potential for corrected tweets to be omitted from our data set. Although tweets that persisted in their original form may have been more influential as a result, since they remained for a longer period of time and therefore had more of an opportunity to sway public opinion and discourse, it would nonetheless be valuable for subsequent studies to examine any systematic differences between misinformation-related tweets that are removed or corrected and those that are not. As such, we now suggest this as a potentially fruitful direction for future research.
    REVISION:
    (pp.23-24) Since the tweets analyzed in this study were derived from misinformation claims, tweets that were corrected after having initially been posted may not have appeared in the data set for this study. Consequently, only those misinformation-related tweets that persisted long enough to be archived in the Crimson Hexagon data warehouse appeared in the present study. This still yielded a sufficiently robust data set to facilitate meaningful analyses and findings, particularly since tweets that persisted in their original form for a longer period (and thus appeared in our data set) also had more time to influence public opinion and discourse. Nonetheless, future research should explore any potential systematic differences between misinformation-tweets that are allowed to persist and those that are so inflammatory or overtly deceptive that they must be immediately corrected or removed, before they even have time to be archived in data warehouses like Crimson Hexagon.

    Additional Questions:
    Originality: Does the paper make a significant theoretical, empirical and/or methodological contribution to an area of importance, within the scope of the journal?:
    While the manuscript does not use a particular theory, the focus on the role of emotion in facilitating engagement in misinformation and correction has the potential to make unique contributions to scholarship on social media and information distribution studies.
    RESPONSE: Thank you for your positive view on our work.

    Relationship to Literature: Does the paper demonstrate an adequate understanding of the relevant literature in the field and cite an appropriate range of literature sources? Is any significant work ignored? Is the literature review up-to-date? Has relevant material published in Online Information Review been cited?:
    Yes, the paper does demonstrate an adequate understanding of literature related to the spreading of misinformation on social media.

    RESPONSE: Thank you.

    Implications for research, practice and/or society: Does the paper identify clearly any implications for research, practice and/or society? Does the paper bridge the gap between theory and practice? How can the research be used in practice (economic and commercial impact), in teaching, to influence public policy, in research (contributing to the body of knowledge)? What is the impact upon society (influencing public attitudes, affecting quality of life)? Are these implications consistent with the findings and conclusions of the paper?:
    Yes, the authors explain well the implications of their findings for future research on social media and countering of misinformation. However, the small sample size does limit the authors' ability to make a strong argument about the relationship between the presence of emotions in tweets with misinformaiton.

    RESPONSE: We thank the reviewers for pointing out the limitation of the smaller dataset. We acknowledge this shortcoming and have thus explained choosing this method as based on previous work within the methods section as well as in the limitations (described below).
    REVISION:
    (p.24) As explained above, other studies have used similar approaches in the past, and one goal was to gather insights that might have been overlooked by exclusively relying on computational methods. Nonetheless, future studies may benefit from a mixed methods approach that combines computational analyses with manual coding to examine such dialogues on the macro level.

    Quality of Communication: Does the paper clearly express its case, measured against the technical language of the fields and the expected knowledge of the journal's readership? Has attention been paid to the clarity of expression and readability, such as sentence structure, jargon use, acronyms, etc.:
    Yes, the paper is well-written and interesting to read.

    Reproducible Research: If appropriate, is sufficient information, potentially including data and software, provided to reproduce the results and are the corresponding datasets formally cited?:
    The inclusion of the codebook with the manuscript is sufficient to replicate the study.

    RESPONSE: We sincerely appreciate your constructive feedback.



    Cite this author response
  • pre-publication peer review (ROUND 1)
    Decision Letter
    2021/05/09

    &PHPSESSID09-May-2021;

    Dear Dr. Lee,

    Manuscript ID OIR-03-2021-0121 entitled "Prevalence of Anger, Engaged in Sadness: Engagement in Misinformation, Correction, and Emotional Tweets during Mass Shootings" which you submitted to Online Information Review has been reviewed. The comments of the reviewer(s) are included at the bottom of this letter.

    The reviewers have recommended that you make major revisions to your manuscript prior to it being considered for publication.

    Please read their suggestions and if you choose to prepare a revised manuscript ensure that any changes that you make to your manuscript are highlighted, as well as described in your response to reviewers.

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    Reviewer(s)' Comments to Author:
    Reviewer: 1

    Recommendation: Major Revision

    Comments:
    This manuscript explores the reactions and types of information (or misinformation) posted and re-posted on Twitter during the El Paso mass shooting event in 2019. The authors did some substantial work for their data analysis. However, some decent work should be done in order to improve and update the theoretical background and framework.

    Additional Questions:
    Originality: Does the paper make a significant theoretical, empirical and/or methodological contribution to an area of importance, within the scope of the journal?: This paper is original and brings several refreshing points of view, thanks to a substantial data analysis. I believe this paper can contribute to the existing body of knowledge dealing with users' reactions to crisis, high-risk events, and of course, mass-shooting and acts of terror. However, for this to happen, I believe some relevant work should be addressed for building a concrete theoretical background.

    Relationship to Literature: Does the paper demonstrate an adequate understanding of the relevant literature in the field and cite an appropriate range of literature sources? Is any significant work ignored? Is the literature review up-to-date? Has relevant material published in Online Information Review been cited?: The lack of relevant and recent literature is the weak point of this manuscript. I am surprised that the authors did such substantial work without reviewing the most relevant studies addressing this issue of social media users' reaction to a crisis event, and even more specifically to mass shooting events. I suggest to them to refer to the relevant work done regarding the Boston Marathon bombing event. (e.g., Buntain et al., 2016; Hunt et al., 2020; Croitoru et al., 2020 etc.,). Also, before addressing this type of work, a broad framework of social media use during general crisis events should be introduced.

    Methodology: Is the paper's argument built on an appropriate base of theory, concepts or other ideas? Has the research on which the paper is based been well designed? Are the methods employed appropriate and fully explained? Have issues of research ethics been adequately identified and addressed?: Yes, the research design is well described and explained.

    Results: For empirical papers - are results presented clearly and analysed appropriately?: Yes.

    Discussion/Argument: Is the relation between any empirical findings and previous work discussed? Does the paper present a robust and coherent argument? To what extent does the paper engage critically with the literature and findings? Are theoretical concepts articulated well and used appropriately? Do the conclusions adequately tie together the other elements of the paper?: The discussion and the argument of the paper is presented clearly. However, the literature review still lacks relevant work to be addressed and engaged more thoroughly in the discussion.

    Implications for research, practice and/or society: Does the paper identify clearly any implications for research, practice and/or society? Does the paper bridge the gap between theory and practice? How can the research be used in practice (economic and commercial impact), in teaching, to influence public policy, in research (contributing to the body of knowledge)? What is the impact upon society (influencing public attitudes, affecting quality of life)? Are these implications consistent with the findings and conclusions of the paper?: The paper, in its current form, can contribute to teaching, public policy, and advocacy. In order for the paper to bridge properly the gap between the theory and practice, the authors should re-think their literature review.

    Quality of Communication: Does the paper clearly express its case, measured against the technical language of the fields and the expected knowledge of the journal's readership? Has attention been paid to the clarity of expression and readability, such as sentence structure, jargon use, acronyms, etc.: The paper is presented very clearly and is very readable.
    However, I would like to suggest the authors to re-shape the research questions' way of presentation. This section's current form as it is combined and integrated into the background is not clear and coherent enough. I would really like to see a distinct section of the RQs.
    Also, the paper does not include research hypotheses, which is understandable, so the authors are requested to correct the sentence in line 31/p.10 accordingly.

    Reviewer: 2

    Recommendation: Minor Revision

    Comments:
    The manuscript focuses on a timely issue of how misinformation spreads on social media during mass shootings. The comparative analysis of El Paso and Dayton shootings is contextualized well and the focus on the role of emotion in facilitating engagement in misinformation and correction has the potential to make unique contributions to scholarship on social media and information distribution studies. While the manuscript is well-written overall and interesting to read, the size of data relevant to the focus of the study is small, which could potentially limit the contributions of the study. Also, the following sections could be clarified and strengthened further:

    Methodology:
    Dataset:
    Page 9, Line 29 - 31, "From the full dataset, 1,478 tweets including original tweets, retweets, and replies was selected for manual coding and further analyses." Elaborate on this statement -- were the retweets included in the sample of the original tweets? Were any efforts made to make sure that you have equal numbers of posts for the two events?

    Coding Categories:
    Page 10, line 31, you write: Based on the proposed research questions and hypotheses, each tweet was coded for the following......, but no hypotheses are included in the paper, so either correct the statement or add your hypotheses.

    The sample tweets included explaining coding of anxiety and joy seem to be weak. Consider adding more representative tweets or more sources to support your coding scheme.

    Create a table showing the breakdown of information types and tweets for each of the shootings together with engagement scores.

    Discussion:
    Page 16, line 38 - 42: "First, our results indicate that misinformation is comparatively prevalent in content on social media compared to correction during crises, although the largest amount of content in our whole data was general information regarding the mass shootings." This statement could be tempered a bit more, given the small sample size and a large number of tweets focusing on general information.

    In your limitation, you might want to acknowledge that since the keywords and hashtags used to download data were derived from misinformation claims, it is possible that tweets with corrections could have been overlooked. As they might not have used the same keywords.

    Additional Questions:
    Originality: Does the paper make a significant theoretical, empirical and/or methodological contribution to an area of importance, within the scope of the journal?: While the manuscript does not use a particular theory, the focus on the role of emotion in facilitating engagement in misinformation and correction has the potential to make unique contributions to scholarship on social media and information distribution studies

    Relationship to Literature: Does the paper demonstrate an adequate understanding of the relevant literature in the field and cite an appropriate range of literature sources? Is any significant work ignored? Is the literature review up-to-date? Has relevant material published in Online Information Review been cited?: Yes, the paper does demonstrate an adequate understanding of literature related to the spreading of misinformation on social media.

    Methodology: Is the paper's argument built on an appropriate base of theory, concepts or other ideas? Has the research on which the paper is based been well designed? Are the methods employed appropriate and fully explained? Have issues of research ethics been adequately identified and addressed?: While the selected methodology is appropriate, the following sections could be strengthened:

    Dataset:
    Page 9, Line 29 - 31, "From the full dataset, 1,478 tweets including original tweets, retweets, and replies was selected for manual coding and further analyses." Elaborate on this statement -- were the retweets included in the sample of the original tweets? Were any efforts made to make sure that you have equal numbers of posts for the two events?

    Coding Categories:
    Page 10, line 31, you write: Based on the proposed research questions and hypotheses, each tweet was coded for the following......, but no hypotheses are included in the paper, so either correct the statement or add your hypotheses.

    The sample tweets included explaining coding of anxiety and joy seem to be weak. Consider adding more representative tweets or more sources to support your coding scheme.

    Results: For empirical papers - are results presented clearly and analysed appropriately?: Yes, the results are presented clearly and analyzed appropriately. However, the section would be stronger with the inclusion of a table showing the breakdown of information types and tweets for each of the shootings together with engagement scores.

    Discussion/Argument: Is the relation between any empirical findings and previous work discussed? Does the paper present a robust and coherent argument? To what extent does the paper engage critically with the literature and findings? Are theoretical concepts articulated well and used appropriately? Do the conclusions adequately tie together the other elements of the paper?: The discussion is overall clear and connects the empirical findings to previous scholarship, although the following sections could be revised:

    Page 16, line 38 - 42: "First, our results indicate that misinformation is comparatively prevalent in content on social media compared to correction during crises, although the largest amount of content in our whole data was general information regarding the mass shootings." This statement could be tempered a bit more, given the small sample size and a large number of tweets focusing on general information.

    In your limitation, you might want to acknowledge that since the keywords and hashtags used to download data were derived from misinformation claims, it is possible that tweets with corrections could have been overlooked. As they might not have used the same keywords.

    Implications for research, practice and/or society: Does the paper identify clearly any implications for research, practice and/or society? Does the paper bridge the gap between theory and practice? How can the research be used in practice (economic and commercial impact), in teaching, to influence public policy, in research (contributing to the body of knowledge)? What is the impact upon society (influencing public attitudes, affecting quality of life)? Are these implications consistent with the findings and conclusions of the paper?: Yes, the authors explain well the implications of their findings for future research on social media and countering of misinformation. However, the small sample size does limit the authors' ability to make a strong argument about the relationship between the presence of emotions in tweets with misinformaiton.

    Quality of Communication: Does the paper clearly express its case, measured against the technical language of the fields and the expected knowledge of the journal's readership? Has attention been paid to the clarity of expression and readability, such as sentence structure, jargon use, acronyms, etc.: Yes, the paper is well-written and interesting to read.

    Reproducible Research: If appropriate, is sufficient information, potentially including data and software, provided to reproduce the results and are the corresponding datasets formally cited?: The inclusion of the codebook with the manuscript is sufficient to replicate the study.

    Decision letter by
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    Reviewer report
    2021/05/08

    The manuscript focuses on a timely issue of how misinformation spreads on social media during mass shootings. The comparative analysis of El Paso and Dayton shootings is contextualized well and the focus on the role of emotion in facilitating engagement in misinformation and correction has the potential to make unique contributions to scholarship on social media and information distribution studies. While the manuscript is well-written overall and interesting to read, the size of data relevant to the focus of the study is small, which could potentially limit the contributions of the study. Also, the following sections could be clarified and strengthened further:

    Methodology:
    Dataset:
    Page 9, Line 29 - 31, "From the full dataset, 1,478 tweets including original tweets, retweets, and replies was selected for manual coding and further analyses." Elaborate on this statement -- were the retweets included in the sample of the original tweets? Were any efforts made to make sure that you have equal numbers of posts for the two events?

    Coding Categories:
    Page 10, line 31, you write: Based on the proposed research questions and hypotheses, each tweet was coded for the following......, but no hypotheses are included in the paper, so either correct the statement or add your hypotheses.

    The sample tweets included explaining coding of anxiety and joy seem to be weak. Consider adding more representative tweets or more sources to support your coding scheme.

    Create a table showing the breakdown of information types and tweets for each of the shootings together with engagement scores.

    Discussion:
    Page 16, line 38 - 42: "First, our results indicate that misinformation is comparatively prevalent in content on social media compared to correction during crises, although the largest amount of content in our whole data was general information regarding the mass shootings." This statement could be tempered a bit more, given the small sample size and a large number of tweets focusing on general information.

    In your limitation, you might want to acknowledge that since the keywords and hashtags used to download data were derived from misinformation claims, it is possible that tweets with corrections could have been overlooked. As they might not have used the same keywords.

    Reviewed by
    Cite this review
    Reviewer report
    2021/04/16

    This manuscript explores the reactions and types of information (or misinformation) posted and re-posted on Twitter during the El Paso mass shooting event in 2019. The authors did some substantial work for their data analysis. However, some decent work should be done in order to improve and update the theoretical background and framework.

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