Beyond Anonymity: Network Affordances, under Deindividuation, Improve Social Media Discussion Quality

Autor(en)
Sophie Lecheler, Kokil Jaidka, Alvin Zhou, Yphtach Lelkes, Jana Laura Egelhofer
Abstrakt

The online sphere allows people to be personally anonymous while simultaneously signaling social identity, e.g., through political network visibility. Twitter users can use a pseudonym but signal fealty to a political party in their profile (e.g., \#MAGA). We explore the interplay of these two dimensions of anonymity on a custom-built social media platform, that allowed us to examine the causal effects of personal and social anonymity on discussion quality. In discussions on gun rights, we find no support for the hypothesis that personal anonymity breeds incivility or lower discussion quality. On the other hand, when personal anonymity is combined with social identity (operationalized as political network visibility), it improves several features linked to discussion quality, i.e., higher rationality and lower incivility. We discuss the mechanisms that might explain the results, and offer recommendations for future experiments about the design of social media platforms.

Organisation(en)
Institut für Publizistik- und Kommunikationswissenschaft
Externe Organisation(en)
National University of Singapore (NUS), University of Pennsylvania
Journal
Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication
Band
27
Anzahl der Seiten
37
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1093/jcmc/zmab019
Publikationsdatum
07-2021
Peer-reviewed
Ja
ÖFOS 2012
508020 Politische Kommunikation
Schlagwörter
Link zum Portal
https://ucris.univie.ac.at/portal/de/publications/beyond-anonymity-network-affordances-under-deindividuation-improve-social-media-discussion-quality(3431d080-1659-49d2-9662-e048f7ec6b2d).html