Who Gets Exposed to Political Misinformation in a Hybrid Media Environment? The Case of the 2019 Indonesian Election

Neyazi, Taberez Ahmed; Yi Kai Ng, Aaron; Kuru, Ozan; Muhtadi, Burhanuddin
Social Media + Society

In the wake of the US 2016 Presidential Election, concerns about misinformation traversing on social media have heightened. Since then, much of the public discourse has been on developing effective strategies to combat the spread of misinformation online. While several studies have focused on the effects of a mixed/hybrid regime of information channels on political participation and campaigns, we know little about how the existence of a hybrid media system exposes people to misinformation during an election cycle. Using a nationally representative survey administered during the 2019 Indonesian election (N?=?1,820), we find evidence for the prominence of traditional media as well as face-to-face discussions: political use of traditional media such as newspapers and TV as well as sharing of political information through face-to-face discussions are found to be positively associated with at least one measure of misinformation exposure. As for the social media communicative pathways, only political use of WhatsApp and Instagram are found to be positively associated with misinformation exposure; that no similar effects are observed for Facebook and Twitter attests, to some extent, to the efficacy of strategies aimed at combating misinformation implemented on such platforms. By considering social media, traditional media, and face-to-face communication in a context of a less digitalized hybrid media environment, this article provides a more comprehensive framework and novel empirical data to study misinformation exposure beyond the context of Western democracies.