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Civility and Trust in Social Media

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Listed:
  • Antoci, Angelo

    () (University of Sassari)

  • Bonelli, Laura

    () (Sapienza University of Rome)

  • Paglieri, Fabio

    () (Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technology)

  • Reggiani, Tommaso G.

    () (Masaryk University)

  • Sabatini, Fabio

    () (Sapienza University of Rome)

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 G. & Sabatini, Fabio, 2018. "Civility and Trust in Social Media," IZA Discussion Papers 11290, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11290
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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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