Purpose: On the basis of the approach-avoidance motivation theory, this study aims to examine the role of information confusion in influencing consumer switching intention among social commerce platforms, with the mediating effect of emotional exhaustion and the moderating role of social overload. Design/methodology/approach: This study applied a multi-method quantitative approach including a survey and two experiments. Data were obtained from consumers on popular social commerce platforms in China. The survey's sample size was 327 respondents, whereas a total of 1,621 consumers participated in the two experiments. Findings: Findings from the survey reveal that information confusion affects switching intention directly and indirectly via emotional exhaustion. Moreover, social overload moderates the emotional exhaustion–switching intention relationship and the indirect impact of information confusion on switching intention. Results of the two experiments further confirm the relationships found in the survey. Originality/value: This study develops and validates a mediation and moderation model which expectedly serves as a framework to better explain consumer switching intention on social commerce platforms. The study also offers fresh insights into consumer switching intention in the unique context of social commerce in an emerging market (i.e. China), which has been largely ignored in the prior literature.