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Civility and trust in social media

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  • Antoci, Angelo
  • Bonelli, Laura
  • Paglieri, Fabio
  • Reggiani, Tommaso
  • Sabatini, Fabio

Abstract

Social media have been credited with the potential of reinvigorating trust by offering new opportunities for social and political participation. This view has been recently challenged by the rising phenomenon of online incivility, which has made the environment of social networking sites hostile to many users. We conduct a novel experiment in a Facebook setting to study how the effect of social media on trust varies depending on the civility or incivility of online interaction. We find that participants exposed to civil Facebook interaction are significantly more trusting. In contrast, when the use of Facebook is accompanied by the experience of online incivility, no significant changes occur in users’ behavior. These results are robust to alternative configurations of the treatments.

Suggested Citation

  • Antoci, Angelo & Bonelli, Laura & Paglieri, Fabio & Reggiani, Tommaso & Sabatini, Fabio, 2019. "Civility and trust in social media," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 160(C), pages 83-99.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:160:y:2019:i:c:p:83-99
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2019.02.026
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    Cited by:

    1. Fabio Sabatini & Francesco Sarracino, 2019. "Online Social Networks and Trust," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 142(1), pages 229-260, February.
    2. Andrea Geraci & Mattia Nardotto & Tommaso Reggiani & Fabio Sabatini, 2018. "Broadband Internet and Social Capital," MUNI ECON Working Papers 2018-01, Masaryk University, revised Dec 2018.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social media; Facebook; Online incivility; Trust; Social networks; Cooperation; Trust game;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D9 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

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