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Civility and Trust in Social Media

Angelo Antoci, Laura Bonelli (), Fabio Paglieri (), Tommaso Reggiani () and Fabio Sabatini ()
Additional contact information
Laura Bonelli: Sapienza University of Rome
Fabio Paglieri: Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technology

No 11290, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

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.

Keywords: social media; Facebook; online incivility; trust; social networks; cooperation; trust game (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C91 D9 D91 Z1 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-exp, nep-ict and nep-soc
Date: 2018-01
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