Spring 2021, No. 1, vol. 3 / Romanian Cyber Security Journal

Rumor and Gossip in the Online World: Social Influence Processes as Challenges to Wellbeing and Digital Wellbeing

Aurelian STOICA

In the last decade, the society transformed massively due to the swift immersion into the digital world. The growing portfolio of mobile applications, virtual reality devices, augmented reality software, messaging and VoIP services, social media platforms, with the support of artificial intelligence, analytics and high-performance computing infrastructure, engaged billions of citizens into a matrix of both learning opportunities and digital challenges and risks. Many studies focused on underlining the benefits of the new technologies in terms of an increased access to information and a stronger connection with peers. This paper approaches current challenges to wellbeing generated by people’s exposure to social influence in the digital world, with focus on gossip and rumors transmitted online. Such processes induce a significant negative impact for the involved audiences not only in the face-to-face interactions, but also in exchanges mediated by social media sites (SNS) and instant messaging platforms. The study pleads for strategies to attain digital wellbeing in order to eliminate education and information gaps, consolidate skills and create a culture of trust and support between users/citizens and the expanding technology.

Wellbeing, Digital wellbeing, New technologies, Online rumors, Online gossip.

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