Social influence and information evaluation

Laurence FAVIER
University of Lille3-Charles de Gaulle, France

Social influence and information evaluation

Information evaluation is one of the most challenging tasks for people in the information seeking and retrieval process. Traditionally it includes appreciation of relevance, information credibility, information quality, cognitive authority and trust. Information evaluation in the context of social media, especially social networks (SNS) raises specific questions. Social media are internet-based applications that allow both creation and exchange of content, subjective evaluations (marks or « like » mentions), dissemination of selected contents to a networks of « friends ». They are based on selective exposure to information and on social influence. Users choose their source of information, the Twitter account they follow for example. Their information behaviour is shaped by social influence which can be defined as how people’s individual actions are affected by other people.
The spreading of misinformation online (Del Vicario et al. 2016, Bessi et al 2014) is, in large part, caused by these SNS features. At the same time, SNS have become an important source of information, even the main one for young people. They are also useful tools for scientists who share content, agenda and publications, a powerful communication means for politicians, another canal of dissemination for traditional media (newspapers, TV etc.), an opportunity to find information about products before buying.
So the understanding of information evaluation in the background of SNS is a crucial issue for society and for information science. The aim of this paper is to analyse the components of social influence in information evaluation tasks.