Conference Paper

# Strangers on Your Phone: Why People Use Anonymous Communication Applications

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## Abstract

Anonymity online is important to people at times in their lives. Anonymous communication applications such as Whisper and YikYak enable people to communicate with strangers anonymously through their smartphones. We report results from semi-structured interviews with 18 users of these apps. The goal of our study was to identify why and how people use anonymous apps, their perceptions of their audience and interactions on the apps, and how these apps compare with other online social communities. We present a typology of the content people share, and their motivations for participation in anonymous apps. People share various types of content that range from deep confessions and secrets to lighthearted jokes and momentary feelings. An important driver for participation and posting is to get social validation from others, even though they are anonymous strangers. We also find that participants believe these anonymous apps allow more honesty, openness, and diversity of opinion than they can find elsewhere. Our results provide implications for how anonymity in mobile apps can encourage expressiveness and interaction among users.

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... It is also important to clarify that we do not wish to imply that all content on Yik Yak is negative or hurtful; indeed, as recent empirical research has shown, the majority of yaks are trivial and benign (Black, et al., 2016) and posting behavior might not be all that different from non-anonymous feeds such as Twitter (Saveski, et al., 2016). The anonymity feature of Yik Yak motivates some users seeking a space for honest expression and exposure to diverse opinions (Kang, et al., 2016). Schlesinger, et al. (2017find that the combination of the platform's anonymity, ephemerality, and hyper-locality — which they refer to collectively as " situated anonymity " — can provide a forum for sharing honest opinions, a space for trying on individual identities, a " support structure for coping " with minor or major psychosocial challenges[1], and encouragement for " participants to commit to an online community by giving them an active role in the creation of an emergent, iterative group identity "[2]. ...
... On the Internet, the lack of visual and auditory cues, the asynchronous and ephemeral nature of communication, and the isolation from one's communication partners contribute to create a very particular communication environment. Given the fluid, multifaceted nature of personal identity (McRobbie, 1994;Hall, 1987), researchers have been interested in what motivates and affects the ways people display themselves differently online (boyd, 2014;Cover, 2015), particularly when participating anonymously (Ellison, et al., 2016;Kang, et al., 2016). Studies show that there is a propensity for anonymous online users to suspend their consciousness of consequences and thus adopt a sense of disinhibition in their expressions (Mason, 2008;Sproull and Kiesler, 1991;Suler, 2004). ...
... Combined with the asynchronous nature of online communications, anonymity in CMC seems to lead to a series of behavioral outcomes that are drastically different from face-to-face communication, as research has demonstrated across various online platforms or digital applications (Bernstein, et al., 2011;Rogers, 2010;Schoenebeck, 2013;Sproull and Kiesler, 1991). Studies have shown that anonymity, as well as the disinhibition it leads to, can result in either positive or negative behaviors depending on context (Christopherson, 2007;Kang, et al., 2016;Suler, 2004); when the disinhibition is " toxic, " it encourages cyberbullying behavior (Mason, 2008). In general, anonymity was found to foster a sense of impunity, a loss of self-awareness and a likelihood of acting upon normally inhibited impulses in a way that is markedly inconsistent with a person's off-line self (Siegel, et al., 1986). ...
Article
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Yik Yak, a location-based, anonymous social media app, has been gaining negative attention as a platform that often gives voice to bullying, racism and sexism on college campuses across the country. Integrating research on digital anonymity and cyberbullying, this paper analyzes the key features of Yik Yak and discusses the ethical dimensions of technology design, as illustrated by the Yik Yak case study. Based on this analysis and integrating previous research findings on interaction in digital spaces, we conclude by providing a set of guidelines for integrating ethical considerations into the process of designing social apps, and offer a few directions for further research in this area.
... There are two lines of research closely related to this study: anonymous online expression and online communities for women. Anonymous expression on the Internet describes the ability to interact online without having to use identifying markers, e.g., birth names or age [6]. Sometimes, women can feel more confident in sharing their experiences in online spaces designed for or frequented by them, anonymously or not. ...
... Anonymity is a preferred feature of online communication at times, which could encourage expressiveness and interaction among users, and allow more honesty, openness, and diversity of opinion [6]. People share various types of content in anonymous communication applications, ranging from deep confessions and secrets to lighthearted jokes and momentary feelings. ...
... People share various types of content in anonymous communication applications, ranging from deep confessions and secrets to lighthearted jokes and momentary feelings. Important motivations for participation and posting are to get social validation from others, even though they are anonymous strangers [6], or just out of boredom and for fun [7]. Although researchers often regarded user identity and data permanence as central tools in the design of online communities, a study of 4chan, an anonymous English-language imageboard website, found that over 90% of posts were made by fully anonymous users [8]. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Gender issues faced by women can range from workplace harassment to domestic violence. While publicly disclosing these issues on social media can be hard, some may incline to express themselves anonymously. We approached such an anonymous female community on Chinese social media where discussion on gender issues takes place with a qualitative content analysis. By observing anonymous experiences contributed by female users and made publicly available by an influencer, we identified 20 issues commonly discussed, with cheating-partner, controlling parents and age anxiety taking the lead. The results are placed into context with Chinese culture and expectations about gender. By describing the results in context with the social challenges faced by women in China, and understanding how these issues are anonymously and openly discussed by them, we aim to motivate more policies and platform designs to accommodate the needs of the affected population.
... Anonymous social media (ASMs) like Ask.fm, Yik Yak, Secret, and Sarahah have brought changes to that practice by allowing people to express their thoughts and opinions anonymously. Several studies have been conducted to identify the motivations of using anonymous applications [22,26,56]. These studies show that some people prefer ASM for achieving protection against their socially disapproved behaviors, including online harassment [26,56], while some may seek it to share anything on the internet without the fear of social retaliation [22]. ...
... Several studies have been conducted to identify the motivations of using anonymous applications [22,26,56]. These studies show that some people prefer ASM for achieving protection against their socially disapproved behaviors, including online harassment [26,56], while some may seek it to share anything on the internet without the fear of social retaliation [22]. Hence, anonymous social media provide their users with a rostrum for safely expressing their opinions. ...
... For example, while some applications provide options for managing the level of anonymity (like Ask.fm) to a certain extent, some applications have the default option of anonymity implemented in them (like Sarahah, Whisper). These anonymous applications allow people sharing messages with other users hiding their actual identity [56]. With anonymity, people can discuss or share unconventional or unwanted messages with others that may receive stricter scrutiny if discussed on other traditional platforms [26]. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Prior research on anonymous social media (ASM) has studied the issue of sexual harassment and has revealed its connections to stereotyping, aggression, interpersonal relationships, and mental health among others [16, 24, 60]. However, the characteristics of such harassment in the context of low and middle-income countries (LMICs) in the global south has not received enough attention in the literature. This paper presents our findings on the use of ASM in Bangladesh based on an anonymous online survey of (n= 291) participants and semi-structured interviews with (n= 27) participants. Our study shows a wide prevalence of sexual harassment on anonymous social networks in Bangladesh, the relationship between a closely-knitted communal culture and anonymous harassment, and the lack of infrastructural support for the victims. We also propose a set of design and policy recommendations for such anonymous social media to extend the current ICTD literature on ensuring a safer online environment for women, especially in an LMIC.
... Progressively, citizens perform more activities on the Internet such as surfing on the Web, establishing Voice over IP communications, sending and receiving instant messages (e.g. through WhatsApp Messenger), which facilitates that different entities such as Internet Service Providers, websites, advertisers, and governments can obtain more information on their activities and can create users' profiles [1,2,3,4,5,6] or surveillance them. ...
... This kind of systems are fundamental to preserve freedom of speech and avoid censorship [14,2,15]. Indeed, they are the cornerstone to define and develop different kind of systems that need to preserve privacy and anonymity such as electronic voting system, anonymous payment systems, anonymous Voice Over IP (VoIP) communications based on SIP [16,17,18], and electronic auctions [19,11,5]. ...
... Shirazi et al. [51] indicate how to measure resilience, Kang et al. [5] calculate the compromise rate for high bandwidth malicious nodes to know the effect of malicious nodes on Tor security, and in [48] they define how to gather client statistics from anonymity network egress nodes. ...
Article
Full-text available
Privacy is an important research topic due to its implications in society. Among the topics covered by privacy, we can highlight how to establish anonymous communications. During the latest years we have seen an important research in this field. In order to know what the state of the art in the research in anonymous communication systems (ACS) is, we have developed a systematic literature review (SLR). Namely, our SLR analyzes several issues: activity performed in the field, major research purposes, findings, what the most ACS study, the limitations of current research, how is leading the research in this field and the most highly-cited articles. Our SLR provides an analysis on 203 papers found in conferences and journals focused on anonymous communications systems between 2011 and 2016. Thus, our SLR provides an updated view on the status of the research in the field and the different future topics to be addressed.
... In the first category, we assess why users post in social media, i.e., the user's driving intent of a post as interpreted by the human annotator. In our schema, we use eight possible intents that we base upon a prior work's [10] taxonomy, derived from semi-structured interviews with social media users. Table 1 shows the list of intents I, e.g., if a user is sharing information or is seeking for information. ...
... Iterative schema development. We based the initial version of the schema on prior work ( [10] for the intents and [5,16,26] for the topics), that we have iteratively refined and adapted in multiple classification campaigns, each based on a small random samples of Jodel posts. Qualitative coder feedback was in line mentioned works, we do not find any specifically toxic environment. ...
... That is, we find evidence for: [23]. Also Jodel as an anonymous platform promotes sensitive content and provides a sphere where people are free in expression and more likely engage controversial discussions & opinions-one main reason using the application as concluded from interviews [10]. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
In this paper, we study what users talk about in a plethora of independent hyperlocal and anonymous online communities in a single country: Saudi Arabia (KSA). We base this perspective on performing a content classification of the Jodel network in the KSA. To do so, we first contribute a content classification schema that assesses both the intent (why) and the topic (what) of posts. We use the schema to label 15k randomly sampled posts and further classify the top 1k hashtags. We observe a rich set of benign (yet at times controversial in conservative regimes) intents and topics that dominantly address information requests, entertainment, or dating/flirting. By comparing two large cities (Riyadh and Jeddah), we further show that hyperlocality leads to shifts in topic popularity between local communities. By evaluating votes (content appreciation) and replies (reactions), we show that the communities react differently to different topics; e.g., entertaining posts are much appreciated through votes, receiving the least replies, while beliefs & politics receive similarly few replies but are controversially voted.
... Anonymous social media (ASMs) like Ask.fm, Yik Yak, Secret, and Sarahah have brought changes to that practice by allowing people to express their thoughts and opinions anonymously. Several studies have been conducted to identify the motivations of using anonymous applications [22,26,56]. These studies show that some people prefer ASM for achieving protection against their socially disapproved behaviors, including online harassment [26,56], while some may seek it to share anything on the internet without the fear of social retaliation [22]. ...
... Several studies have been conducted to identify the motivations of using anonymous applications [22,26,56]. These studies show that some people prefer ASM for achieving protection against their socially disapproved behaviors, including online harassment [26,56], while some may seek it to share anything on the internet without the fear of social retaliation [22]. Hence, anonymous social media provide their users with a rostrum for safely expressing their opinions. ...
... For example, while some applications provide options for managing the level of anonymity (like Ask.fm) to a certain extent, some applications have the default option of anonymity implemented in them (like Sarahah, Whisper). These anonymous applications allow people sharing messages with other users hiding their actual identity [56]. With anonymity, people can discuss or share unconventional or unwanted messages with others that may receive stricter scrutiny if discussed on other traditional platforms [26]. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper presents the findings on the use of Anonymous Social Media (ASM) in Bangladesh based on an anonymous online survey of 291 participants and semi-structured interviews with 27 participants. Our study shows a wide prevalence of sexual harassment on anonymous social networks in Bangladesh, the relationship between a closely-knitted communal culture and anonymous harassment, and the lack of infrastructural support for the victims. These findings advocate for a safe and supportive online environment for its users, especially for women who are the primary victims of profanity or defamation in Bangladesh.
... There are two lines of research closely related to this study: anonymous online expression and online communities for women. Anonymous expression on the Internet describes the ability to interact online without having to use identifying markers, e.g., birth names or age [6]. Sometimes, women can feel more confident in sharing their experiences in online spaces designed for or frequented by them, anonymously or not. ...
... Anonymity is a preferred feature of online communication at times, which could encourage expressiveness and interaction among users, and allow more honesty, openness, and diversity of opinion [6]. People share various types of content in anonymous communication applications, ranging from deep confessions and secrets to lighthearted jokes and momentary feelings. ...
... People share various types of content in anonymous communication applications, ranging from deep confessions and secrets to lighthearted jokes and momentary feelings. Important motivations for participation and posting are to get social validation from others, even though they are anonymous strangers [6], or just out of boredom and for fun [7]. Although researchers often regarded user identity and data permanence as central tools in the design of online communities, a study of 4chan, an anonymous English-language imageboard website, found that over 90% of posts were made by fully anonymous users [8]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Gender issues faced by women can range from workplace harassment to domestic violence. While publicly disclosing these issues on social media can be hard, some may incline to express themselves anonymously. We approached such an anonymous female community on Chinese social media where discussion on gender issues takes place with a qualitative content analysis. By observing anonymous experiences contributed by female users and made publicly available by an influencer, we identified 20 issues commonly discussed, with cheating-partner, controlling parents and age anxiety taking the lead. The results are placed into context with Chinese culture and expectations about gender. By describing the results in context with the social challenges faced by women in China, and understanding how these issues are anonymously and openly discussed by them, we aim to motivate more policies and platform designs to accommodate the needs of the affected population.
... Recent years have seen a rise in the use of social media platforms that a ord anonymous communication such as ASKfm and Formspring [5,37] and mobile applications that allow anonymous sharing like YikYak and Kik [18]. While anonymous online communication has existed for decades (e.g., Usenet, anonymous chat rooms) [27], platforms like ASKfm are novel because they allow users to anonymously communicate with known recipients (i.e., semi-anonymous communication). ...
... is study contributes new insights into the bene ts and drawbacks of online anonymity, as well as how adolescents and young adults navigate an online space that can be fraught with negativity and harm. Based on our ndings, we push the discussion of anonymous interactions [18] beyond the standard focus on negative and bullying messages to consider the range of positive and negative outcomes associated with site use. While we acknowledge the importance of minimizing user risks, our study highlights how and why these sites are useful to young people, i.e., by providing an outlet for interactions that may be perceived as stigmatizing in less anonymous environments. ...
... Kang et. al. contend that ephemerality is an intrinsic part of anonymous communication application [18]. However, semi-anonymous social web applications like ASKfm do not embrace the same ephemerality as other fully anonymous social web applications since posts are recorded on user pro les. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
ASKfm is a social media platform popular among teens and young adults where users can interact anonymously or semi-anonymously. In this paper, we identify the modes of disclosure and interaction that occur on the site, and evaluate why users are motivated to post and interact on the site, despite its reputation for facilitating cyberbullying. Through topic modeling - supplemented with manual annotation - of a large dataset of ASKfm posts, we identify and classify the rich variety of discourse posted on ASKfm, including both positive and negative forms, providing insights into the why individuals continue to engage with the site. These findings are complemented by a survey of young adults (aged 18-20) ASKfm users, which provides additional insights into users' motivations and interaction patterns. We discuss how the affordances specific to platforms like ASKfm, including anonymity and visibility, might enable users to respond to cyberbullying in novel ways, engage in positive forms of self-disclosure, and gain social support on sensitive topics. We conclude with design recommendations that would highlight the positive interactions on the website and help diminish the repurcussions of the negative interactions.
... This adds a new dimension to the existing issues surrounding college speech. It is found to be a key driver of and an exacerbating factor behind harassment, bullying, and other violent incidents targeting vulnerable students, often making people feel unwelcome in both digital and physical spaces [48,79], and even causing psychological and emotional upheavals, akin to its offline counterpart [63,86]. ...
... Apart from understanding online hateful language, some, although limited studies have also examined its effects on the online activities of individuals [5]. [48] showed that victims of online abuse leave the platforms, [86] found that the victims feel increased prejudice, and [19] found that the ban of Reddit communities which incited hateful content was effective towards reducing the manifestation of hateful content on the platform. Similarly, other work found that exposure to online hate among young social media users is associated with psychological and emotional upheavals and heightened distancing from family members [63].Further, [91] studied how various minority groups are targeted with hate speech through various modes of media (both online and offline) and how they are affected because of the exposure to hateful content. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Background. Hateful speech bears negative repercussions and is particularly damaging in college communities. The efforts to regulate hateful speech on college campuses pose vexing socio-political problems, and the interventions to mitigate the effects require evaluating the pervasiveness of the phenomenon on campuses as well the impacts on students' psychological state. Data and Methods. Given the growing use of social media among college students, we target the above issues by studying the online aspect of hateful speech in a dataset of 6 million Reddit comments shared in 174 college communities. To quantify the prevelence of hateful speech in an online college community, we devise College Hate Index (CHX). Next, we examine its distribution across the categories of hateful speech,behavior, class, disability, ethnicity, gender, physical appearance, race, religion, andsexual orientation. We then employ a causal-inference framework to study the psychological effects of hateful speech, particularly in the form of individuals' online stress expression. Finally, we characterize their psychological endurance to hateful speech by analyzing their language -- their discriminatory keyword use, and their personality traits. Results. We find that hateful speech is prevalent in college subreddits, and 25% of them show greater hateful speech than non-college subreddits. We also find that the exposure to hate leads to greater stress expression. However, everybody exposed is not equally affected; some show lower psychological endurance than others. Low endurance individuals are more vulnerable to emotional outbursts, and are more neurotic than those with higher endurance. Discussion. Our work bears implications for policy-making and intervention efforts to tackle the damaging effects of online hateful speech in colleges. From technological perspective, our work caters to mental health support provisions on college campuses, and to moderation efforts in online college communities. In addition, given the charged aspect of speech dilemma, we highlight the ethical implications of our work. Our work lays the foundation for studying the psychological impacts of hateful speech in online communities in general, and situated communities in particular (the ones that have both an offline and an online analog).
... It can hide covert traffic in a large amount of overt communication traffic. Many researches show that the use of network covert channel can protect user privacy and guarantee users' right to free access to Internet [6][7][8]. e secure transmission of secret messages in the communication process refers to two aspects: one is the communication content security [9] and the other is the communication connection security [6,10,11]. Network covert channel can effectively improve the security of these two aspects. ...
... Many researches show that the use of network covert channel can protect user privacy and guarantee users' right to free access to Internet [6][7][8]. e secure transmission of secret messages in the communication process refers to two aspects: one is the communication content security [9] and the other is the communication connection security [6,10,11]. Network covert channel can effectively improve the security of these two aspects. ...
Article
Full-text available
... Among negative consequences are deviant behaviour and online trolling (Fichman & Peters, 2019;Seigfried-Spellar & Lankford, 2018), identity deception and manipulations (Donath, 1999), or violent language and aggression in general (Kasakowskij et al., 2018). On the other hand, positive benefits of anonymity in online spaces can include people having intimate and open conversations (Kasakowskij et al., 2018), seeking social validation from others (Kang et al., 2016), finding a venue for discussing sensitive topics (Peddinti et al., 2014) or disclosing personal information in a safe space (Joinson, 2001;Qian & Scott, 2007). ...
... This is a point made by several authors suggesting that other affordances, besides anonymity, play a central role in how people present themselves and relate to each other in anonymous online spaces. For instance, Kang et al. (2016) point out how the ephemerality that exists on anonymous applications affects the posting habits of users who tend to post very momentary feelings, because they know posts will not live long on the feed. Also, users seldom go back and look up previous shared posts. ...
... It can hide covert traffic in a large amount of overt communication traffic. Many researches show that the use of network covert channel can protect user privacy and guarantee users' right to free access to Internet [6][7][8]. e secure transmission of secret messages in the communication process refers to two aspects: one is the communication content security [9] and the other is the communication connection security [6,10,11]. Network covert channel can effectively improve the security of these two aspects. ...
... Many researches show that the use of network covert channel can protect user privacy and guarantee users' right to free access to Internet [6][7][8]. e secure transmission of secret messages in the communication process refers to two aspects: one is the communication content security [9] and the other is the communication connection security [6,10,11]. Network covert channel can effectively improve the security of these two aspects. ...
Preprint
In order to protect user privacy or guarantee free access to the Internet, the network covert channel has become a hot research topic. It refers to an information channel in which the messages are covertly transmitted under the network environment. In recent years, many new construction schemes of network covert channels are proposed. But at the same time, network covert channel has also received the attention of censors, leading to many attacks. e network covert channel refers to an information channel in which the messages are covertly transmitted under the network environment. Many users exploit the network covert channel to protect privacy or guarantee free access to the Internet. Previous construction schemes of the network covert channel are based on information steganography, which can be divided into CTCs and CSCs. In recent years, there are some covert channels constructed by changing the transmission network architecture. On the other side, some research work promises that the characteristics of emerging network may better fit the construction of the network covert channel. In addition, the covert channel can also be constructed by changing the transmission network architecture. e proxy and anonymity communication technology implement this construction scheme. In this paper, we divide the key technologies for constructing network covert channels into two aspects: communication content level (based on information steganography) and transmission network level (based on proxy and anonymity communication technology). We give an comprehensively summary about covert channels at each level. We also introduce work for the three new types of network covert channels (covert channels based on streaming media, covert channels based on blockchain, and covert channels based on IPv6). In addition, we present the attacks against the network covert channel, including elimination, limitation, and detection. Finally, the challenge and future research trend in this field are discussed.
... Results showed that obtaining social validation from others was an important driver for participation and posting. Anonymous apps allowed more honesty, openness and diversity of opinion compared with others apps [22]. ...
... When users obtain the satisfaction of EA through a series of usage, the continuing usage intentions will increase. Similarly, we can see that social validation, obtaining connection with people, sharing information are common intentions for using ASM compared with the studies in [21,22]. ...
Article
Full-text available
By iheriting online natural properties, anonymous social media (ASM) applications have become popular and have attracted large amounts of mobile users (e.g., the youth) who can construct new identities for role-play and show themselves in anonymous ways. In order to investigate the influencing factors toward usage intention (UI) and platform swinging (PS) behavior among anonymous social applications, we choose one of the most active ASM App “Soul” as the example in China and then conducte a semi-structured interview with 23 valid Soul users using qualitative methods. The results show that the factors, i.e., perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, perceived privacy riskiness, perceived anonymity, subjective norms, emotional attachments, and perceived interactivity, indeed affect UI among Soul users via online communication. Moreover, we find that PS behavior is ubiquitous among interviewees and mainly depends on diversified needs, which consist of nine dimensions including different position and function among apps, usage comparison, friend migration, etc. Nearly 80% of interviewees believe that there exists a relationship between UI and PS, which can be described as a inverted U-shaped curve, i.e., the higher or lower UI, the less probability of PS. For the individuals’ social media usage behavior, a closed loop “Attitude–Intention–Behavior” is summarized. By conducting qualitative research, we intend to provide some insights and deepen the understanding of UI among ASM users in daily life.
... In online environments, one's identifiability depends on both the affordances of the particular platform as well as the wishes of the individual user [50]. Instances in which users perceive themselves to be hard to identify-whether through the use of pseudonymity or other meansare associated with disclosure of information perceived to be more sensitive, more intimate, or more controversial in other contexts [5,8,35,71,72,75]. This online disinhibition effect [72] may be 1) harmful, in cases where individuals feel more protected from the consequences of their actions and therefore freer to contribute to a climate of harassment and toxicity [5,8,25,30,33,51,72,78,85], or 2) helpful, as individuals feel more secure engaging with others with less risk of encountering stigma and negative encounters [5,8,35,40,72]. ...
... Instances in which users perceive themselves to be hard to identify-whether through the use of pseudonymity or other meansare associated with disclosure of information perceived to be more sensitive, more intimate, or more controversial in other contexts [5,8,35,71,72,75]. This online disinhibition effect [72] may be 1) harmful, in cases where individuals feel more protected from the consequences of their actions and therefore freer to contribute to a climate of harassment and toxicity [5,8,25,30,33,51,72,78,85], or 2) helpful, as individuals feel more secure engaging with others with less risk of encountering stigma and negative encounters [5,8,35,40,72]. In their exploration of the use of multiple profile management as part of online boundary work, Stutzman and Hartzog [71] write that "[p]seudonymity both conceals information and encourages disclosure. . . As a result of the disassociation with the primary identity, individuals can disclose with less reservation, knowing that the pseudonymous profile is 'invisible' to search engine queries on the individual's name, for example." ...
Article
Video game players face a fundamental challenge in managing their competing desires for both privacy and publicity, for being both apart from, and a part of, the communities in which they play. In this paper, we argue that "gamertags" are important tools for protecting gamers' privacy as well as creative outlets for expressing meaningful aspects of identity. Based on 30 semi-structured interviews focused on players' usernames, we find through the pseudonyms under which they play, gamers both hide identifying information such as their offline names and addresses while bringing attention to information that is deeply meaningful to them, such as their family nickname or favorite music. By deemphasizing some parts of their identity and by emphasizing others, players not only shape how they are perceived by other gamers, but they also attempt to preclude accidental disclosure of more identifying information. We argue that gamertag practices thus constitute an important form of boundary work through which gamers actively seek to draw lines between their offline and multiple online worlds in the ways that they wish. We argue that gamers use these names to both protect and project aspects of their identities--at times even seeking protection through projection--as a way of addressing their competing desires to both conceal and reveal different aspects of their identities. As boundary work, players' efforts to carefully protect personally-identifying information and intentionally project personally meaningful information to their communities help them better manage their online identities, relationships with others, and overall data privacy.
... This proposal is supported by literature on anonymous communication applications. According to Kang, Dabbish, and Sutton (2016), online communities view anonymity as a coping strategy to manage converging and burdensome social boundaries; anonymity provides a way to circumnavigate or even abnegate these responsibilities without repercussion, if only for a limited time period. ...
Article
The role that visual communication plays in the maintenance of a cult of personality should not be underestimated. This is especially relevant in the case of eSwatini, the last kingdom in postcolonial Africa with an absolute monarch. This article explores the relationship between the factors that inform and build the cult of personality around King Mswati III but also questions the surprising mix of colonial and postcolonial sensibilities that create the visual communication to achieve this. The argument shows that despite the Swazi embracing of a modern, technological future, myth, tradition, and immateriality feature strongly in the national identity, represented by Mswati himself. Selected heraldic, pictorial, and commercial artefacts are used to demonstrate how the approach to this visual communication is a hybrid of colonial and postcolonial graphic influences, where the resultant message is more concerned with symbolic value than design aesthetics and brand coherency. The colonial era graphic influences are clearly insignificant to Swazis: this is superseded by the imperative to represent the stature and significance of the monarch by any means.
... This adds a new dimension to the existing issues surrounding college speech. For instance, it has been reported to be a key driver of and an exacerbating factor behind harassment, bullying, and other violent incidents targeting vulnerable students, often making people feel unwelcome in both digital and physical spaces [11,30], and even causing psychological and emotional upheavals, akin to its offline counterpart [20,32]. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background. Hateful speech bears negative repercussions and is particularly damaging in college communities. The efforts to regulate hateful speech on college campuses pose vexing socio-political problems, and the interventions to mitigate the effects require evaluating the pervasiveness of the phenomenon on campuses as well the impacts on students' psychological state. Data and Methods. Given the growing use of social media among college students, we target the above issues by studying the online aspect of hateful speech in a dataset of 6 million Reddit comments shared in 174 college communities. We devise a measure of College Hate Index (CHX) and examine its distribution in college subreddits across the categories of hateful speech, behavior, class, disability, ethnicity, gender, physical appearance, race, religion, and sexual orientation. We then employ a causal-inference framework to study the psychological effects of hateful speech in these college subreddits, particularly in the form of individuals' online stress expression. Finally, we characterize their psychological endurance to hateful speech by analyzing their language-we examine their discriminatory keyword use with Sparse Additive Generative Model (SAGE), and their personality traits with Watson Personality Insights API. Results. Our findings suggest that hateful speech is prevalent in college subreddits, and 25% of these subreddits show greater hateful speech than non-college subreddits. We further find that exposure to hate leads to greater stress expression. However, everybody exposed is not equally affected; some show lower psychological endurance than others. Low endurance individuals are more vulnerable to emotional outbursts, and are more neurotic than those with higher endurance to hate. Discussion. Our work bears implications for policy-making and intervention efforts to tackle the damaging effects of online hateful speech in colleges. From technological perspective, our work caters to mental health support provisions on college campuses, and to moderation efforts in online college communities. In addition, given the charged aspect of speech dilemma, we highlight the ethical implications of our work. Our work lays the foundation for studying the psychological impacts of hateful speech in online communities in general, and situated communities in particular (the ones that have both an offline and an online analog).
... This proposal is supported by literature on anonymous communication applications. According to Kang, Dabbish, and Sutton (2016), online communities view anonymity as a coping strategy to manage converging and burdensome social boundaries; anonymity provides a way to circumnavigate or even abnegate these responsibilities without repercussion, if only for a limited time period. ...
Article
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This article documents the research methodologies and subsequent multifaceted outcomes of a two-year visual study of lies and truth. By reviewing numerous artefacts created within the context of this research, the dual modalities of distraction and discomfort were discovered to provide a quasi-dyadic coalition to creative strategy, which significantly informed, led, and challenged the creative practice. Accordingly, this article discusses how, when, and where these modalities were implemented, by leveraging from two established academic models that demonstrate the various stages of the creative process. The visual study was structured into two imbricating layers: foremost, an online, anonymous confessional platform, iliekit.com; and secondly, the creation of an art book, “The Big Book of Bullshit.” Typographic, illustrative, and photographic artefacts were subsequently created, inspired by these anonymous confessions of dishonesty. This article analyses six cases from this visual study and presents connections between the modalities of distraction and discomfort and effective creative production. In conclusion, this article reviews the potential for further research to develop the dual modalities of distraction and discomfort as both pedagogical frameworks and as practice based creative strategy.
... Examples of such communities are the thousands of sub-reddits on Reddit, Facebook Confession Boards (FCBs), or the hashtags on twitter. Members like sharing stories with the other anonymous, but like minded people, united by their shared interest(s) [5]. The key advantage of such communication, as noted by Schlesinger et al. [10], is that it reduces social inhibition, leading to more effective and personal story sharing (than in case of bondbased commitment). ...
Conference Paper
Through this article, we introduce the novel concept of place-based social networks, as a way to enable effective, personal story-sharing for communities. We present our explorations of utilizing Starbucks at an American University to establish such a network for the student community. We show how anonymity between the community members, combined with the shared, spatiotemporal grounding provided by the place (Starbucks,) leads to prosocial behavior among the students.
... Given the lack of ongoing interpersonal relationships and offline contact, online mentoring may take different forms to help individuals manage career challenges. For example, people may receive confirmation and acceptance, a form of socio-emotional support, from strangers who cannot directly affect their current employment conditions [31]. People may also seek informational support through coaching online, in order to overcome challenges while managing exposure and protecting their careers. ...
Conference Paper
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Although people frequently seek mentoring or advice for their career, most mentoring is performed in person. Little research has examined the nature and quality of career men-toring online. To address this gap, we study how people use online Q&A forums for career advice. We develop a taxon-omy of career advice requests based on a qualitative analysis of posts in a career-related online forum, identifying three key types: best practices, career threats, and time-sensitive requests. Our quantitative analysis of responses shows that both requesters and external viewers value general information , encouragement, and guidance, but not role modeling. We found no relation between the type of requests and features of responses, nor differences in responses valued by requesters versus external viewers. We present design recommendations for supporting online career advice exchange. CCS CONCEPTS • Empirical studies in HCI; Empirical studies in collab-orative and social computing;
... The anonymity of the Internet drives self-disclosure about negative experiences (Kang, Dabbish, and Sutton 2016). For example, sexual minorities who tended to be unacceptable by society at that time of publication of the paper (McKenna and Bargh 1998) recovered self-esteem through anonymous communication communities on the Internet (newsgroups) (McKenna and Bargh 1998). ...
Article
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Avatar communication through the Internet has great potential to be an appropriate environment for self-disclosure and social support. Anonymity and ease of access drive selfdisclosure of even the most serious problems. Rich nonverbal communication, co-presence, and real-time interaction increase emotional closeness. However, there has not been much research with regard to examining social support in avatar communication. In this paper, we aim to facilitate self-disclosure and social support for bullied people through avatar communication. For this purpose, we analyzed verbal and nonverbal communication about bullying experiences through an avatar communication service. We demonstrate that people who emotionally disclosed their bullying experiences received better social support. In addition, people who provided social support used emotional expressions to convey emotional empathy. These were observed in conversations with a few acquaintances in closed spaces. Our findings reveal areas where we can improve upon the design of avatar communication spaces for effective social support.
... This level of anonymity can help users better manage their identity (Ellison et al., 2016). Users may choose anonymous and pseudonymous platforms as it allows them to avoid social risk, especially when they are dealing with stigma (Kang, Dabbish, & Sutton, 2016). Some Reddit users even create "throw-away" accounts that they use to disclose stigmatizing information, so that it is not linked to their primary Reddit account (Andalibi, Haimson, De Choudhury, & Forte, 2016). ...
Article
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Substance abuse remains an important and dangerous societal issue. In this study, we build on previous literature that identified online social support communities that encouraged unhealthy behaviors, by investigating a platform that provides social support related to engaging in illicit drug use. Three days’ worth of posts, amounting to almost 400 pages of written data, was collected and analyzed to identify what types of support were being requested and provided by users. The analysis identified 19 total topics for support, with 14 of those topics relating to action-facilitating support, and five of them relating to nurturant support. The results show that the website is primarily used to discuss topics like drug effects and drug dosages. This raises questions as to whether these discussions increase safety by allowing users to dose accurately, or whether they give users a false sense of security related to their continued substance use.
... Readers' perceptions over the information provided may vary based on the extent to which they are close with the sender of the information and the sender's identity is available. Indeed, people find anonymous messages as more honest (Kang et al., 2016) and believe that others with no tie to themselves provide more novel information (i.e., including positive and negative feedback about a product) than those that they have weak or close personal ties (Morris et al., 2014). Moreover, impression management literature also supports this contention that individuals are motivated to conform to societal norms if they feel visible to others over self-image concerns (Lapinski and Rimal, 2005). ...
Conference Paper
The first social media site was launched in 1997. The era of social media had dawned. Users could create a profile and add others as their virtual friends. Blogs and forums also started to attract considerable following, as they allowed people to communicate more frequently and on a larger scale than ever before. More innovation in the social media space soon followed with the launch of Myspace, Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter, among others. Social media in all its iterations has become a major pillar of society – the implications for marketing and the business enterprise are almost endless. Not only has the proliferation of different social media platforms increased the volume of online chatter, but it has also contextualized word-of-mouth (WOM) in the digital domain.We posit that WOM exhibits heterogeneity across social media platforms. This study examines how different social media platforms can drive or inhibit firm sales through this contextualizing effect, in the domain of the motion picture industry. We investigate whether all social media platforms are equal in the transmission of digital WOM to actual customer purchase behavior. We theoretically contextualize WOM based on systematic differences between platforms and empirically evaluate the impact of those differences on an objective variable of particular interest to academics and practitioners: movie sales. Empirical results from a panel data analysis suggest social media WOM influences box office revenues more when it stems from non-identity social media platforms such as forums and review sites, than when it comes from identity-focused ones (i.e. Twitter, Facebook).
... An understanding of community norms is generally gained through experience [4]: observing posts and comments posted on the subreddit, peer feedback in the form of votes or replies to comments, and interactions with mods. This work of enforcing norms is important to both communities and platforms: people may leave sites and communities after being the victims of norm violations [26]. Importantly for the present work, norm enforcement by mods also creates a record of norm violations across disparate communities. ...
Article
Norms are central to how online communities are governed. Yet, norms are also emergent, arise from interaction, and can vary significantly between communities---making them challenging to study at scale. In this paper, we study community norms on Reddit in a large-scale, empirical manner. Via 2.8M comments removed by moderators of 100 top subreddits over 10 months, we use both computational and qualitative methods to identify three types of norms: macro norms that are universal to most parts of Reddit; meso norms that are shared across certain groups of subreddits; and micro norms that are specific to individual, relatively unique subreddits. Given the size of Reddit's user base---and the wide range of topics covered by different subreddits---we argue this represents the first large-scale census of the norms in broader internet culture. In other words, these findings shed light on what Reddit values, and how widely-held those values are. We conclude by discussing implications for the design of new and existing online communities.
... Being anonymous, people actively disclose themselves [52], taking risks [108], or revealing their thoughts and opinions strongly without caring of criticisms [6,126]. Kang et al. [56,58] discussed tradeoffs of whether people 1 3 used Internet as being anonymous. These survey reported the reasons why people aim to be anonymous. ...
Article
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Social media—particularly services such as Twitter where most content is public—present an interesting balance between social benefits and privacy risks. Twitter users have various usage objectives to gain social benefits. As to privacy risks, we introduce the concept of “anonymity consciousness” as users’ intention to avoid being identified and reached by strangers when engaging in public space. In this study, we present a cross-cultural study to investigate self-disclosure in Twitter profiles, usage objectives on Twitter, and anonymity consciousness and examine how self-disclosure is influenced by usage objectives and anonymity consciousness. Specifically, this study targets Twitter users in the United States, India, and Japan. We find: (a) Indian users are more likely to disclose their personal information and have weaker anonymity consciousness than US and Japanese users, (b) users in every country are less likely to disclose their real name if they have stronger anonymity consciousness, and (c) US users tend to disclose their web-page link and Japanese users tend to disclose their affiliation when advertising themselves on Twitter.
... As such, and as we shall show, users are potentially reachable by and identifiable to one another. Kang et al. (2016) found that people use anonymous social media to gain social validation from an anonymous crowd despite the lack of cohesive and persistent identifiers, similarly to earlier online pseudonymous communities. They also report that participants feel these apps allow for greater honesty, openness, and diversity of opinion. ...
Article
This study focuses on the perceptions and practices of anonymous communication with friends enabled by tie-based anonymous apps. Based on qualitative analysis of in-depth interviews with users of the application Secret, the strategies deployed by interviewees in order to de-anonymize other users are emphasized and placed within the broader context of the real-name web. The article shows that Secret was not only based on pre-existing social networks but also drew on the network as a structure of thought. The concept of networked anonymity is introduced to account for the ways that anonymous actors imagine one another as “someone,” rather than as an unknown “anyone.” As such, the survivability of this communicative model is inherently limited by competing forces—the drive to connectivity, on the one hand, and to anonymity, on the other.
... In that respect, there is some degree of continuity between such live video streaming and the 'webcam girls' which used to display themselves live, looking for online fame (Senft, 2008). Like these precursors, the live video display in Periscope streams is addressed to an audience of strangers, and must also be understood within the larger domain of 'anonymous communication' (Kang et al., 2016). ...
Article
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In this study, we use a conversation analysis framework to understand the systematic organization of interactions in Periscope live video streams, and its crucial features: (a) the talking heads orientation for the video stream, in common with video-mediated communication; (b) the expectation that the streamer should attend to all messages as much as possible; (c) the ‘loose’ organization of viewers’ responses to streamers’ turn-at-talk, as in multi-party chats. We also identify a distinctive design for streamers’ responses to messages, the ‘read-aloud and respond’ practice. These distinctive features are oriented to the highly asymmetrical communicative affordances of Periscope streams. Without precluding other forms of Periscope-based activities, this systematic organization of talk and messages, coupled with the affordances of the application, favors a basic mode of topic initiation resting on a typical and minimal adjacent pair: viewer’s noticing/streamers’ reading and responding. We argue that the particular salience of this organization of topic initiation may account for the emergence of the dominant kind of use for Periscope streams, that is, the online public exposure of youth to strangers in order to elicit some conversation.
... Ephemerality also facilitates spontaneous interactions between users, encourages experimenting with different personas, and reduces concerns about self-presentation [5,47,57]. Another line of research of anonymous communication points out the ephemerality of identity and how it allows people to explore the full range of their identity but subject people to the consequence of de-anonymization [50], raising the question of whether people can accurately estimate data persistence [28]. The answer to this question, however, is that people tend to expect data persistence from platforms with default options being saving rather than deleting [51], and come up with saving strategies to deal with content, meaning, and context losses [7,10]. ...
Article
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Online community moderators are on the front lines of combating problems like hate speech and harassment, but new modes of interaction can introduce unexpected challenges. In this paper, we consider moderation practices and challenges in the context of real-time, voice-based communication through 25 in-depth interviews with moderators on Discord. Our findings suggest that the affordances of voice-based online communities change what it means to moderate content and interactions. Not only are there new ways to break rules that moderators of text-based communities find unfamiliar, such as disruptive noise and voice raiding, but acquiring evidence of rule-breaking behaviors is also more difficult due to the ephemerality of real-time voice. While moderators have developed new moderation strategies, these strategies are limited and often based on hearsay and first impressions, resulting in problems ranging from unsuccessful moderation to false accusations. Based on these findings, we discuss how voice communication complicates current understandings and assumptions about moderation, and outline ways that platform designers and administrators can design technology to facilitate moderation.
... Though most of the work within social computing research that builds on Donath's framing has focused on their application to asynchronous environments (e.g., [14,17]), this framing can easily be applied to synchronous environments as well; as Donath notes, biology and game theory already study realtime co-located signaling in animals and humans. In this work we focus on social status signals, which on Twitch take the form of badges appearing next to usernames indicating a user's rank -moderator, subscriber, or regular user. ...
... Anonymous social media platforms have been used by employees as outlets to express their support or to praise their company and management (Krishna and Kim, 2015). Furthermore, the honest and open nature of anonymous channels (Kang et al., 2016) allows employees to voice their dissent or release negative emotions, such as frustration, anger, or dissatisfaction (Ravazzani and Mazzei, 2018), because of the low perceived risk (e.g. embarrassment) of sharing relatively sensitive or problematic issues (Scott and Rains, 2005). ...
Article
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Purpose Given that an increasing number of social media platforms allow employees to share company-related information, the present study seeks to understand their complicated motivations for social media behaviors. Specifically, this study explores the antecedents of employees' positive and negative company-related information-sharing intentions on two distinctive social media platforms, personal (e.g. Facebook) and anonymous social networking sites (e.g. Glassdoor). Design/methodology/approach An online survey was conducted with 419 full-time employees in the United States from various industry sectors. Findings Individual (enjoyment, venting negative feelings, and self-enhancement), interpersonal (bonding and bridging ties), and organizational (organization–employee relationship and perceived external prestige) factors are considerably and distinctly associated with employees' behavioral intentions on different social media platforms. Originality/value This study is among the first to understand employees' communicative behaviors on social media (sECB) by linking diverse levels of motivational factors: individual, interpersonal, and organizational using a theoretical framework of socioecological model (SEM). This study also provides significant practical guidelines for organizational leaders and platform operators by explicating the dynamics of employee motives in engaging in a variety of social media platforms.
... For example, Tor uses onion routing mechanism to hide the identity of the sender and receiver, where each router only knows its successor and predecessor. Furthermore, people are also inclining towards concealment of their identity over cellular communication and are using smartphone applications which allows anonymity [16]. Unfortunately, these aforesaid solutions are designed for the Internet traffic and are not useful for time-sensitive applications and enterprise networks. ...
Article
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The emergence of Software Defined Networking (SDN) has revolutionized the management of an enterprise network. The SDN-based design provides flexibility in network management which spans over multiple applications e.g., routing, switching, forwarding, and controlling. It reduces the reliance on vendor-specific devices and middlebox solutions like firewalls, Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS), Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS), etc. Furthermore, due to the integration of different technologies, privacy is one of the core issues faced by the enterprise. Host anonymity is one of the techniques to safeguard against privacy attacks; however, the existing anonymization solutions provide better anonymity, but at the cost of higher latency and are most suited for internet traffic. To tackle this issue in an enterprise network, in this research, we propose an SDN-based communication framework using Enterprise Integration Patterns (EIP) that offers anonymous communication in an enterprise environment. Host anonymity is achieved by replacing the real IP address with the spoofed IP address during the transmission of data packets inside the network. Unlike the traditional networks, SDN can modify the header fields of packets as they traverse in the network from source to destination. In addition to the host anonymity, this framework also provides context-aware communication by leveraging the SDN global visibility characteristic, where application services are discoverable on the network without disclosing the addresses of the application servers. Moreover, context-aware services enable network traffic to be routed based on the application layer services rather than the network layer information. In the end, evaluation of the proposed framework is carried out with respect to the performance of anonymous communication, computational complexity and security of the complete proposed framework. In addition, we also highlighted that the proposed framework is more suitable for heterogeneous network environments such as IoT-based solutions.
... In the same vein, Dosono et al. found that college Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) students were more comfortable sharing personal crises related to impression management (e.g., physical injuries) with family and counselors instead of their ROTC peers [28]. In general, anonymous interactions have been shown to help in overcoming social stigma and may be more appropriate for private exchanges where more openness is desired [28,47]. ...
Conference Paper
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The emergence of camera-based assistive technologies has empowered people with visual impairments (VIP) to obtain independence in their daily lives. Popular services feature volunteers who answer questions about photos or videos (e.g., to identify a medical prescription). However, people with VIPs can (inadvertently) reveal sensitive information to these volunteers. To better understand the privacy concerns regarding the disclosure of background objects to different types of human assistants (friends, family, and others), we conducted an online survey with 155 visually impaired participants. In general, our participants had varying concerns depending on the type of assistants and the kind of information. We found that our participants were more concerned about the privacy of bystanders than their own when capturing people in images. We also found that participants were concerned about self-presentation and were more comfortable sharing embarrassing information with family than with their friends. Our findings suggest directions for future work in the development of human-assisted question-answering systems. Specifically, we discuss how humanizing these systems can give people a greater sense of personal security.
... In fact, these consequences are compounded because OMHCs cater to sensitive population of individuals (ones possibly struggling with mental health challenges). For instance, diagnosing, suggesting, and adopting drugs and alternative treatments without clinical corroboration can adversely affect individuals [14,45,67]. Further, since OMHCs are largely peer-driven platforms, it is essential to ensure the quality, credibility, and supportiveness of content being shared, so that these communities facilitate positive health and behavior change [12]. ...
Chapter
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Online Mental Health Communities (OMHCs) enable individuals to seek and provide support, and serve as a safe haven to disclose and share stigmatizing and sensitive experiences. Like other online communities, OMHCs are not immune to bad behavior and antisocial activities such as trolling, spamming, and harassment. Therefore, these communities are oftentimes guided by strict norms against such behavior, and moderated to ensure the quality and credibility of the content being shared. However, moderation within these communities is not only limited to ensuring content quality. It is far more complex—providing supportive spaces for disclosure, ensuring individuals’ privacy, etc.—because of the sensitive population that they cater to. By interviewing 19 moderators across 12 such OMHCs on Reddit, this paper studies the practices and structure of moderation in these communities to better understand their functioning and effectiveness. Our research questions primarily revolve around three major themes—moderation, support, and self-disclosure. We find practices of moderation hierarchy, and several distinctions in motivations and responsibilities of the moderators individually and as a group. We also notice that these communities predominantly encourage emotional support, and provide supportive spaces that encourage self-disclosure on stigmatized concerns. Our findings highlight the necessity of awareness corresponding to (currently lacking) privacy concerns, and raises the importance of the presence of mental health experts (counselors and psychiatrists) in these communities. On the basis of the insights drawn from this work, we discuss the implications and considerations for designing OMHCs.
... An anonymous computer-mediated communication environment provides individuals with freedom and privacy protection (Bishop & Levine, 1999;Scott & Rains, 2005). In an anonymous online environment where honest and open communication often occurs (Kang, Dabbish, & Sutton, 2016), individuals are less likely to perceive high risks of sharing sensitive or problematic information (Scott & Rains, 2005), feel vulnerable to disclose themselves, and consider that they are violating social norms (Rost, Stahel, & Frey, 2016) than in other digital channels. Accordingly, employees freely voice their dissent or negative emotions regarding work in such an environment (Ravazzani & Mazzei, 2018). ...
Article
This study focuses on employees’ negative communication behaviors on anonymous social media and explores the effects of organizational antecedents on reducing their motives. Specifically, the effects of organizations’ symmetrical communication and organization-employee relationship (OER) on individuals’ social media usage motives (e.g., vent negative feelings, warn others) and negative behavioral intentions are examined. Results of an online survey of full-time employees in the United States show that the effects of OER on employees’ negative communication behavior intentions are mediated by their social media motives. Symmetrical communication had a large positive effect on OER, which in turn decreased their motives to share negative contents on anonymous social media. Theoretical and practical implications for public relations and employee behaviors are discussed.
... Ephemerality also facilitates spontaneous interactions between users, encourages experimenting with different personas, and reduces concerns about self-presentation [5,47,57]. Another line of research of anonymous communication points out the ephemerality of identity and how it allows people to explore the full range of their identity but subject people to the consequence of de-anonymization [50], raising the question of whether people can accurately estimate data persistence [28]. The answer to this question, however, is that people tend to expect data persistence from platforms with default options being saving rather than deleting [51], and come up with saving strategies to deal with content, meaning, and context losses [7,10]. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Online community moderators are on the front lines of combating problems like hate speech and harassment, but new modes of interaction can introduce unexpected challenges. In this paper, we consider moderation practices and challenges in the context of real-time, voice-based communication through 25 in-depth interviews with moderators on Discord. Our findings suggest that the affordances of voice-based online communities change what it means to moderate content and interactions. Not only are there new ways to break rules that moderators of text-based communities find unfamiliar, such as disruptive noise and voice raiding, but acquiring evidence of rule-breaking behaviors is also more difficult due to the ephemerality of real-time voice. While moderators have developed new moderation strategies, these strategies are limited and often based on hearsay and first impressions, resulting in problems ranging from unsuccessful moderation to false accusations. Based on these findings, we discuss how voice communication complicates current understandings and assumptions about moderation, and outline ways that platform designers and administrators can design technology to facilitate moderation.
... For example, research by Tran et al. has shown that contributions from anonymity-seeking Tor users (who are currently blocked from contributing to Wikipedia altogether) have been a source of substantial value in the past [74]. Although anonymous activities can be hard to govern, they can "encourage expressiveness and interaction among users" [44]. The implementation of a prepublication moderation system could prove effective in governing the content made by these less privileged users, fostering a culture that allows diversified voices and open discussion, instead of outright excluding them due to perceived risk. ...
Preprint
Many online communities rely on postpublication moderation where contributors -- even those that are perceived as being risky -- are allowed to publish material immediately without review. An alternative arrangement involves moderating content before publication. A range of communities have argued against prepublication moderation by suggesting that it makes contributing less enjoyable for new members and that it will distract established community members with extra moderation work. We present an empirical analysis of the effects of a prepublication review system called \textit{FlaggedRevs} that was deployed by several Wikipedia language editions. We used panel data from 17 large Wikipedia editions to test a series of hypotheses related to the effect of the system on activity levels and contribution quality within the affected communities. We found that the system was very effective at keeping low-quality contributions from ever becoming visible. Although there is some evidence that the system discouraged participation among unregistered users, our analysis suggests that the system's effects on contribution volume and quality were moderate at most. Our findings imply that concerns regarding the major negative effects of prepublication moderation systems on contribution quality, project productivity, and community sustainability may be overstated.
... Finally, receiving information or opinions from an anonymous source can provide 7 stronger validation due to perceptions that these sources are more likely to be objective or come from more diverse backgrounds compared to one's social network (Kang et al., 2016). ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
When it comes to receiving support on sensitive topics, online communities can be a great resource. Seeking support in online communities with known others, such as family or friends, might, however, entail sensitive disclosure and reputational hazards, e.g., revealing a health challenge. This study investigates how people provide support in online groups where the group members’ identity is known but individual messages posted within the groups are anonymous. This study was a two-wave laboratory-based experiment in which participants were exposed to support-seeking postings, followed by an online experiment in which they rated the perceived anonymity of support-seeking posts. In Study 1, it was discovered that while audience size and attention to the post were not associated to support, group size (the number of people who saw the post) and group affinity (participant identification with the group) were. In Study 2, it was discovered that group anonymity, which may be related to group size, is linked to support. The study seeks to shed more light on how important anonymity is in online community design, especially when disclosing sensitive support needs.
... In fact, these consequences are compounded because OMHCs cater to sensitive population of individuals (ones possibly struggling with mental health challenges). For instance, diagnosing, suggesting, and adopting drugs and alternative treatments without clinical corroboration can adversely affect individuals [14,45,67]. Further, since OMHCs are largely peer-driven platforms, it is essential to ensure the quality, credibility, and supportiveness of content being shared, so that these communities facilitate positive health and behavior change [12]. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Online Mental Health Communities (OMHCs) enable individuals to seek and provide support, and serve as a safe haven to disclose and share stigmatizing and sensitive experiences. Like other online communities, OMHCs are not immune to bad behavior and antisocial activities such as trolling, spamming, and harassment. Therefore, these communities are oftentimes guided by strict norms against such behavior , and moderated to ensure the quality and credibility of the content being shared. However, moderation within these communities is not only limited to ensuring content quality. It is far more complex-providing supportive spaces for disclosure, ensuring individuals' privacy, etc.-because of the sensitive population that they cater to. By interviewing 19 moderators across 12 such OMHCs on Reddit, this paper studies the practices and structure of moderation in these communities to better understand their functioning and effectiveness. Our research questions primarily revolve around three major themes-moderation, support, and self-disclosure. We find practices of moderation hierarchy, and several distinctions in motivations and responsibilities of the moderators individually and as a group. We also notice that these communities predominantly encourage emotional support, and provide supportive spaces that encourage self-disclosure on stigmatized concerns. Our findings highlight the necessity of awareness corresponding to (currently lacking) privacy concerns, and raises the importance of the presence of mental health experts (counselors and psychiatrists) in these communities. On the basis of the insights drawn from this work, we discuss the implications and considerations for designing OMHCs.
... Andone et al. (2016) observed that younger users of social mobile applications mainly accessed for entertainment purposes and social interactions, compared to older users. Kang et al. (2016) also found that younger users felt entertained when they read sensational posts made by others for amusement and shock value online. ...
Article
Full-text available
Attachment to social media is a serious problem for iGen users. A recent study of social media use by 10,000 iGen users found 36% were on social media for 2 to 4 h daily, and 11% for more than 5 h. Further, users who reported spending more time on social media were significantly more likely to rate their mental health as poor. With the increasing awareness of the dire consequences of addiction to social media, calls have been made to take action against its continued proliferation. Instead of bans on social media, we call for mild policy-based interventions to guide appropriate positive social media use, while minimizing harmful experiences. Attachment Theory is adopted to understand the individual values and feelings of attachment of iGen to social media. We then use the Value-focused Thinking process to organize values to define iGen's attachment objectives. In a final synthesis we present a mild policy-based interventions approach to suggest policy interventions and techniques for social media use to combat over-attachment by iGen users.
Article
Avatar communication, which provides a wealth of emotional expressions under anonymity, can effectively compensate for a lack of social resources in real life. It enables players to construct close relationships, disclose themselves, and receive social support on the Internet. To facilitate such communication, we focus on fancy avatar identification and its correlates. This is because avatar identification is a bridging factor between avatar customization and social behavior in the virtual world. Therefore, we analyzed the association between avatar customization, avatar identification, and communication behavior. We discovered that 1) embodied identification, one of the forms of avatar identifications, facilitates close relationship construction and self-disclosure with friends in a virtual world; and 2) embodied identification is reinforced by avatar customization when the aspects being customized are also mutable in real-life, such as hairstyle and fashion. This suggests that players’ social lives can be enhanced through a virtual world, for example, an application provider can facilitate such avatar customization by campaigns.
Article
How do individuals in twelve-step fellowships like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) interpret and enact "anonymity?" In this paper, we answer this question through a mixed-methods investigation. Through secondary analysis of interview data from 26 participants and an online questionnaire (N=285) we found three major interpretations of anonymity among AA and NA members: "unidentifiability," "social contract," and "program over individual." While unidentifiability has been the focus of computing investigations, the other interpretations provide a significant and novel lens on anonymity. To understand how and when the unidentifiability interpretation was most likely to be enacted, we conducted a quantitative analysis of traces of activity in a large online recovery community. We observed that members were less likely to enact "unidentifiability" if they were more connected to the particular community and had more time in recovery. We provide implications for future research on context-specific anonymity and implications for design in online recovery spaces and similar sensitive contexts.
Conference Paper
The social media ecosystem is constituted by platforms and applications with varying affordances for and rules regarding anonymity. How and why users use and how they percieve online anonymity remains a focus of social media and Internet research, including how beliefs about anonymity shape ---and are shaped by--- the behaviors of others on and beyond social media platforms. Our study contributes to knowledge about anonymity in online social platforms by exploring the shared beliefs of a sample of young adults about the recently-defunct platform Yik Yak. Findings from our mixed-methods study of students at a large university in the Southeastern United States suggest that young adults have shared beliefs about social media and anonymity, but the degree to which those beliefs are shared is tenuous. The specific of those beliefs are discussed in context of prior research about social media, anonymity and cyberbullying.
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Mobile apps have increasingly become an innovative tool that can provide information and resources to those who have service needs but often lack access to and knowledge about how to improve their well-being in today’s society. In China, although the number of Internet users has increased substantively, there has been little discussion on how mobile apps can help social workers in their delivery of behavioral health services. This article features three highly used apps that facilitate behavioral health care service delivery in the United States and provides recommendations for developing apps for social work practice in China.
Article
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Anonymity is an inherent attribute of the Internet. Depending on pseudonyms, cyber citizens can role play and present themselves by reconstructing a different identity. In order to satisfy the needs of anonymous self-expression, anonymous social applications have become popular worldwide. In this paper, we conduct a survey regarding user intention (UI) of “Soul”, which is a popular anonymous social media application in China, especially for the youth. For this purpose, we design an adapted technology acceptance model (TAM) consisting of seven influencing factors, i.e., perceived usefulness (PU), perceived ease of use (PEOU), perceived anonymity (PA), perceived privacy riskiness (PPR), subjective norms (SN), emotional attachments (EA) and perceived interactivity (PI). Both the measurement and structural models are tested via partial least squares structural equation model. The results show that PU, PEOU, PPR and PI have a significant relationship with UI. Therein, both SN and EA can impact PU, and meanwhile, the direct paths between PI → PEOU, PA → PPR also exist. Contrary to expectation, the effect of SN on UI is not directly significant. The proposed model is able to explain 64.1% of variance for UI among Soul users. The results suggest that the proposed constructs provide relatively good explanations for the continuous intention to use the Soul app.
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University students frequently use campus Facebook Confessions pages to engage with their peers about their university experiences. This article explores the utility of Confessions pages in providing novel data to aid the development of student services generally, and academic skills support in particular. Through a qualitative thematic analysis of five universities’ Facebook Confessions pages over five years, our research demonstrates that these platforms provide valuable insights. Confessions data complement traditional research and evaluation approaches and enable academic skills advisors to tailor their practices in response to students’ expressed needs. Additionally, these pages offer valuable insights into student learning and engagement styles, with the shift toward active and group pedagogical styles clearly evident. Yet overt interventions are likely to be unwelcome and counterproductive. We therefore suggest that while some limited participation can be beneficial, ultimately university staff should remain passive users of data, rather than active participants.
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Social interactions and interpersonal communication has undergone significant changes in recent years. Increasing awareness of privacy issues and events such as the Snowden disclosures have led to the rapid growth of a new generation of anonymous social networks and messaging applications. By removing traditional concepts of strong identities and social links, these services encourage communication between strangers, and allow users to express themselves without fear of bullying or retaliation. Despite millions of users and billions of monthly page views, there is little empirical analysis of how services like Whisper have changed the shape and content of social interactions. In this paper, we present results of the first large-scale empirical study of an anonymous social network, using a complete 3-month trace of the Whisper network covering 24 million whispers written by more than 1 million unique users. We seek to understand how anonymity and the lack of social links affect user behavior. We analyze Whisper from a number of perspectives, including the structure of user interactions in the absence of persistent social links, user engagement and network stickiness over time, and content moderation in a network with minimal user accountability. Finally, we identify and test an attack that exposes Whisper users to detailed location tracking. We have notified Whisper and they have taken steps to address the problem.
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Over the past decade, social network sites have experienced dramatic growth in popularity, reaching most demographics and providing new opportunities for interaction and socialization. Through this growth, users have been challenged to manage novel privacy concerns and balance nuanced trade-offs between disclosing and withholding personal information. To date, however, no study has documented how privacy and disclosure evolved on social network sites over an extended period of time. In this manuscript we use profile data from a longitudinal panel of 5,076 Facebook users to understand how their privacy and disclosure behavior changed between 2005---the early days of the network---and 2011. Our analysis highlights three contrasting trends. First, over time Facebook users in our dataset exhibited increasingly privacy-seeking behavior, progressively decreasing the amount of personal data shared publicly with unconnected profiles in the same network. However, and second, changes implemented by Facebook near the end of the period of time under our observation arrested or in some cases inverted that trend. Third, the amount and scope of personal information that Facebook users revealed privately to other connected profiles actually increased over time---and because of that, so did disclosures to silent listeners'' on the network: Facebook itself, third-party apps, and (indirectly) advertisers. These findings highlight the tension between privacy choices as expressions of individual subjective preferences, and the role of the environment in shaping those choices.
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In this research we set out to discover why and how people seek anonymity in their online interactions. Our goal is to inform policy and the design of future Internet architecture and applications. We interviewed 44 people from America, Asia, Europe, and Africa who had sought anonymity and asked them about their experiences. A key finding of our research is the very large variation in interviewees' past experiences and life situations leading them to seek anonymity, and how they tried to achieve it. Our results suggest implications for the design of online communities, challenges for policy, and ways to improve anonymity tools and educate users about the different routes and threats to anonymity on the Internet.
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The growing use of social media means that an increasing amount of people's lives are visible online. We draw from Goffman's theatrical metaphor and Hogan's exhibition approach to explore how people manage their personal collection of social media data over time. We conducted a qualitative study of 13 participants to reveal their day-to-day decision-making about producing and curating digital traces on Facebook. Their goals and strategies showed that people experience the Facebook platform as consisting of three different functional regions: a performance region for managing recent data and impression management, an exhibition region for longer term presentation of self-image, and a personal region for archiving meaningful facets of life. Further, users' need for presenting and archiving data in these three regions is mediated by temporality. These findings trigger a discussion of how to design social media that support these dynamic and sometimes conflicting needs.
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While we tend to think of self-presentation as a process executed by the self, reputation management on social network sites, like Facebook, is increasingly viewed as a collective endeavor. The information users share about one another can have significant impacts on impression formation, and at times this other-generated content may be face threatening, or challenging to one's desired self-presentation. However, we know little about the nature of these other-generated face threats and the ways that people perceive them. Using an online survey of 150 Facebook users, we report on what these users consider to be other-generated face threats and how they feel after experiencing them. Results suggest that many face threats result from other Facebook users neglecting or misunderstanding a target's audience and/or self-presentation goals, as well as a target's fear of creating an unwanted association with another Facebook user. Experience of these threats is affected by both individual and situational factors. We also report on a new unique measure capturing Facebook skills.
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The management of a variety of models utilized in organizational planning is discussed. Descriptions of the features and functions of the hardware and software environment, along with scenarios for use of the environment, illustrate critical issues in group deliberation. A particular model, stakeholder identification and assumption surfacing, is used to illustrate aspects of model management and planning process implementation. Findings of the group decision support system (GDSS) research are discussed in terms of anonymity of participation, facility design, need for multiple public screens, use of knowledge and data bases, communication network speed, methodological approach, software design, mixing of manual and electronic sessions, group size, composition, satisfaction of the users and model management systems.
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Different lines of research have explored many aspects of self-disclosure, yet there are few broad, connecting principles that can be used to describe this behavior. A Disclosure Decision model is introduced that specifies a cognitive process resulting in decisions that affect the content, depth, breadth, and duration of self-disclosure. One of 5 possible disclosure goals must be made accessible. Disclosure must be selected as a strategy for reaching that goal, and a disclosure target must be selected. Potential disclosers then evaluate the subjective utility and the subjective risk of disclosing. The subjective utility of disclosing is hypothesized to decrease breadth and increase duration of disclosure. Subjective risk is hypothesized to decrease depth of disclosure. The Disclosure Decision model is designed to provide a framework for studying and predicting self-disclosure across situations.
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Social media technologies collapse multiple audiences into single contexts, making it difficult for people to use the same techniques online that they do to handle multiplicity in face-to-face conversation. This paper investigates how content producers navigate 'imagined audiences' on Twitter. We talked to participants with different types of followings to understand their techniques, including targeting multiple audiences, concealing subjects, and maintaining authenticity. For some, the techniques of audience management resemble those of 'micro-celebrity' and personal branding, representing strategic self-commodification. Our model of the networked audience assumes a many-to-many communication through which individuals conceptualize an imagined audience evoked through their tweets.
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The theory of downward comparison posits that persons experiencing negative affect can enhance their subjective well-being through comparison with a less fortunate other, the process occurring on either a passive or active basis. The present author discusses the basic principle of downward comparison and its corollaries and suggests that these represent the motivational process for phenomena observed in several areas of social psychology. Evidence is considered from studies of the fear-affiliation effect, choice of others for social comparison, scapegoating, projection, aversive environmental events and attraction toward others, social prejudice, hostile aggression, and humor. It is shown that downward comparison principles encompass empirical evidence from these areas, account for nonreplications as well as confirmatory findings, and provide a theoretical basis for the relation among the various phenomena. (111 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Online communities depend upon the commitment and voluntary participation of their members. Community design—site navigation, community structure and features, and organizational policies—is critical in this regard. Community design affects how people can interact, the information they receive about one another and the community, and how they can participate in community activities. We argue that the constraints and opportunities inherent in online community design influence how people become attached to the community and whether they are willing to expend effort on its behalf. We examine two theories of group attachment and link these theories with design decisions for online communities. Common identity theory makes predictions about the causes and consequences of people's attachment to the group as a whole. Common bond theory makes predictions about the causes and consequences of people's attachment to individual group members. We review causes of common identity and common bond, and show how they result in different kinds of attachment and group outcomes. We then show how design decisions, such as those focused on recruiting newcomers versus retaining existing members, constraining or promoting off-topic discussion, and limiting group size or allowing uncontrolled growth, can lead to common identity or interpersonal bonds among community members, and consequently to different levels and forms of community participation by those so motivated.
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Objectives: Determine the role of the friend request in unfriending decisions. Find factors in unfriending decisions and find differences in the perception of online and offline behaviors that vary depending on the unfriending decision. Method: Survey research conducted online. 690 surveys about unfriending were analyzed using exploratory statistical techniques. Results: The research results show that the initiator of the friend request has more than their expected share of unfriends compared to those who receive the friend request. There are online and offline factors for unfriending decisions; the research identified six constructs to evaluate unfriending decisions. There are 4 components for online behaviors (unimportant/frequent posts, polarizing posts, inappropriate posts and everyday life posts) and 2 offline components (disliked behavior and changes in the relationship). Survey respondents who said they unfriend for online reasons were more likely to agree that the person posted too frequently about unimportant topics, polarizing topics, and inappropriate topics compared to those who unfriended for offline reasons.
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We present two studies of online ephemerality and anonymity based on the popular discussion board /b/ at 4chan.org: a website with over 7 million users that plays an influential role in Internet culture. Although re-searchers and practitioners often assume that user iden-tity and data permanence are central tools in the design of online communities, we explore how /b/ succeeds de-spite being almost entirely anonymous and extremely ephemeral. We begin by describing /b/ and performing a content analysis that suggests the community is dom-inated by playful exchanges of images and links. Our first study uses a large dataset of more than five million posts to quantify ephemerality in /b/. We find that most threads spend just five seconds on the first page and less than five minutes on the site before expiring. Our sec-ond study is an analysis of identity signals on 4chan, finding that over 90% of posts are made by fully anony-mous users, with other identity signals adopted and dis-carded at will. We describe alternative mechanisms that /b/ participants use to establish status and frame their interactions.
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This study investigates self-presentation strategies among online dating participants, exploring how participants manage their online presentation of self in order to accomplish the goal of finding a romantic partner. Thirty-four individuals active on a large online dating site participated in telephone interviews about their online dating experiences and perceptions. Qualitative data analysis suggests that participants attended to small cues online, mediated the tension between impression management pressures and the desire to present an authentic sense of self through tactics such as creating a profile that reflected their “ideal self,” and attempted to establish the veracity of their identity claims. This study provides empirical support for Social Information Processing theory in a naturalistic context while offering insight into the complicated way in which “honesty” is enacted online.
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Three studies examined the notion that computer mediated communication (CMC) can be characterised by high levels of self-disclosure. In Study one, significantly higher levels of spontaneous self-disclosure were found in computer-mediated compared to face-to-face discussions. Study two examined the role of visual anonymity in encouraging self-disclosure during CMC. Visually anonymous participants disclosed significantly more information about themselves than non-visually anonymous participants. In Study three, private and public self-awareness were independently manipulated, using videoconferencing cameras and accountability cues, to create a 2x2 design (public self-awareness (high and low) x private self-awareness (high and low). It was found that heightened private self-awareness, when combined with reduced public self-awareness, was associated with significantly higher levels of spontaneous self-disclosure during computer-mediated communication.
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Can psychotherapy reduce the incidence of health problems? A general model of psychosomatics assumes that inhibiting or holding back one's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors is associated with long-term stress and disease. Actively confronting upsetting experiences--through writing or talk- ing-is hypothesized to reduce the negative effects of inhibition. Fifty healthy undergraduates were assigned to write about either traumatic experiences or superficial topics for 4 consecutive days. Two measures of cellular immune-system function and health center visits suggested that confronting traumatic experiences was physically beneficial. The implications for psychotherapy as a preventive treatment for health problems are discussed. There is little doubt that psychotherapy reduces subjective distress and yields positive behavioral outcomes. In recent years, a small group of researchers has sought to learn whether psychotherapy can also reduce health problems. Two promising reviews have indicated that the use of mental health services is associated with fewer medical visits, fewer days of hospitaliza- tion, and lower overall medical costs. In a summary of 15 stud- ies published between 1965 and 1980, Mumford, Schlesinger, and Glass (1981) found that individuals who underwent psy- chotherapy evidenced a 13% decrease in medical utilization rel- ative to nonpsychotherapy control subjects. Similarly, in a re- view of 13 studies of mental health services that were intro- duced into organizations, Jones and Vischi (1980) found that psychotherapy was associated with a 20% drop in medical utili- zation.
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While online, some people self-disclose or act out more frequently or intensely than they would in person. This article explores six factors that interact with each other in creating this online disinhibition effect: dissociative anonymity, invisibility, asynchronicity, solipsistic introjection, dissociative imagination, and minimization of authority. Personality variables also will influence the extent of this disinhibition. Rather than thinking of disinhibition as the revealing of an underlying "true self," we can conceptualize it as a shift to a constellation within self-structure, involving clusters of affect and cognition that differ from the in-person constellation.
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this paper is to understand how identity is established in an online community and to examine the effects of identity deception and the conditions that give rise to it. In the physical world there is an inherent unity to the self, for the body provides a compelling and convenient definition of identity. The norm is: one body, one identity. Though the self may be complex and mutable over time and circumstance, the body provides a stabilizing anchor. Said Sartre in Being and Nothingness, "I am my body to the extent that I am," The virtual world is different. It is composed of information rather than matter. Information spreads and diffuses; there is no law of the conservation of information. The inhabitants of this impalpable space are also diffuse, free from the body's unifying anchor. One can have, some claim, as many electronic personas as one has time and energy to create. "One can have...?" Who is this "one"? It is, of course, the embodied self, the body that is synonymous with identity, the body at the keyboard. The two worlds are not really disjoint. While it is true that a single person can create multiple electronic identities that are linked only by their common progenitor, that link, though invisible in the virtual world, is of great significance. What is the relationship among multiple personas sharing a single progenitor? Do virtual personas inherit the qualities -- and responsibilities -- of their creators? Such questions bring a fresh approach to ancient inquiries into the relationship between the self and the body -- and a fresh urgency. Online communities are growing rapidly and their participants face these questions, not as hypothetical thought experiments, but as basic issues in their daily existence. A man creates a female identity; a high school stud...
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this paper has been provided by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (General and Strategic grants), Bell Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Science and Technology, and the Information Technology Research Centre. We dedicate this chapter to science-fiction personage Judith Merril who net surfed for fifty years until her death in Sept., 1997.
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This paper explores temporary identities on social media platforms and individuals' uses of these identities with respect to their perceptions of anonymity. Given the research on multiple profile maintenance, little research has examined the role that some social media platforms play in affording users with temporary identities. Further, most of the research on anonymity stops short of the concept of varying perceptions of anonymity. This paper builds on these research areas by describing the phenomenon of temporary "throwaway accounts" and their uses on reddit.com, a popular social news site. In addition to ethnographic trace analysis to examine the contexts in which throwaway accounts are adopted, this paper presents a predictive model that suggests that perceptions of anonymity significantly shape the potential uses of throwaway accounts and that women are much more likely to adopt temporary identities than men.
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Most of what we understand about data sensitivity is through user self-report (e.g., surveys), this paper is the first to use behavioral data to determine content sensitivity, via the clues that users give as to what information they consider private or sensitive through their use of privacy enhancing product features. We perform a large-scale analysis of user anonymity choices during their activity on Quora, a popular question-and-answer site. We identify categories of questions for which users are more likely to exercise anonymity and explore several machine learning approaches towards predicting whether a particular answer will be written anonymously. Our findings validate the viability of the proposed approach towards an automatic assessment of data sensitivity, show that data sensitivity is a nuanced measure that should be viewed on a continuum rather than as a binary concept, and advance the idea that machine learning over behavioral data can be effectively used in order to develop product features that can help keep users safe.
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Consumers shopping in "brick-and-mortar" (non-virtual) stores often use their mobile phones to consult with others about potential purchases. Via a survey (n = 200), we detail current practices in seeking remote shopping advice. We then consider how emerging social platforms, such as social networking sites and crowd labor markets, could offer rich next-generation remote shopping advice experiences. We conducted a field experiment in which shoppers shared photographs of potential purchases via MMS, Facebook, and Mechanical Turk. Paid crowdsourcing, in particular, proved surprisingly useful and influential as a means of augmenting in-store shopping. Based on our findings, we offer design suggestions for next-generation remote shopping advice systems.
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Two experiments explored the determinants of self-disclosure between strangers in airport departure lounges. Experiment I focused on the effects of demand characteristics on self-disclosure reciprocity. Subjects were asked to provide either “handwriting samples” or written “self-descriptions.” More intimate and longer disclosures were provided in the self-description condition. Subjects in the self-description condition also tended to reciprocate the intimacy level of the experimenter's prior disclosure to a greater degree. These results were attributed to a process of modeling, in response to the demand characteristics of the situation. Experiment II employed the handwriting paradigm to probe the limits of self-disclosure reciprocity. The experimenter first disclosed himself at either a low, medium, or high level of intimacy, and he did so either nonpersonalistically (he simply copied a standard measage) or personalistically (he pretended to create the message specifically for the subject). It was predicted that in the nonpersonalistic conditions subjects would again model the experimenter's level of intimacy. In the personalistic conditions, however, considerations of trust were expected to supplement or supplant the modeling mechanism. In particular, the personalistic, high intimacy message was expected to give rise to suspicion rather than trust and, as a result, to elicit a reduced degree of self-disclosure. The results with respect to the length of the subjects' messages conformed closely to the predicted pattern. On a qualitative measure of intimacy, there was a less perfect fit between predictions and results. Other results from both studies concerned the impact of sex roles upon patterns of self-disclosure. In Experiment II it was also found that out-of-town visitors wrote longer messages than did local residents, suggesting the operation of a “passing stranger” effect.
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Those who feel better able to express their “true selves” in Internet rather than face-to-face interaction settings are more likely to form close relationships with people met on the Internet (McKenna, Green, & Gleason, this issue). Building on these correlational findings from survey data, we conducted three laboratory experiments to directly test the hypothesized causal role of differential self-expression in Internet relationship formation. Experiments 1 and 2, using a reaction time task, found that for university undergraduates, the true-self concept is more accessible in memory during Internet interactions, and the actual self more accessible during face-to-face interactions. Experiment 3 confirmed that people randomly assigned to interact over the Internet (vs. face to face) were better able to express their true-self qualities to their partners.
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Self-presentation is the use of behavior to communicate some information about oneself to others. The 2 main self-presentational motives are to please the audience and to construct (create, maintain, and modify) one's public self congruent to one's ideal. It is proposed that a wide range of social behavior is determined or influenced by these self-presentational concerns. Research evidence is examined to show the relevance of the self-presentational motives to giving and receiving help, conformity, reactance, attitude expression and change, responses to evaluations, aggressive behavior, self-serving and counter-defensive attributional statements, task performance, ingratiation, and emotion. (149 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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As adolescent Internet use grew exponentially in the last decade, with it emerged a number of correspondent expectations. Among them were the following: (1) that gender predicts usage, i.e., that boys spend more time online, surfing the web and playing violent games, while girls chat or shop online; (2) that Internet use causes social isolation and depression, especially for teens; and (3) that adolescents use the Internet for anonymous identity experimentation. These expectations were based on research with earlier technologies when the Internet was less diffused in the adolescent population. By means of highly detailed daily reports of adolescents' home Internet usage and peer-related adjustment, the present research sought to compare these expectations with the actual experiences of early and mid-adolescents in 2000 and 2001. Participants were 261 7th and 10th graders from suburban California public schools who completed four consecutive end-of-day reports on their school-based adjustment and Internet activity (including detailed logs of instant messages). Results challenge prevailing expectations regarding gender, well-being, and identity play. For the most part, adolescent boys' and girls' online activities have become more similar than different. On average, boys and girls alike described their online social interaction as (1) occurring in private settings such as e-mail and instant messages, (2) with friends who are also part of their daily, offline lives, and (3) devoted to fairly ordinary yet intimate topics (e.g., friends, gossip). No associations were found between Internet usage and well-being. Online pretending was reported to be motivated by a desire to play a joke on friends more often than to explore a desired or future identity, but participants reported a range of pretending content, contexts, and motives.
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Bloggers are typically cautious about engaging in self-disclosure because of concerns that what they post may have negative consequences. This article examines the relationship between anonymity (both visual and discursive) and self-disclosure on weblogs through an online survey. The results suggest that increased visual anonymity is not associated with greater self-disclosure, and the findings about the role of discursive anonymity are mixed. Bloggers whose target audience does not include people they know offline report a higher degree of anonymity than those whose audience does. Future studies need to explore the reasons why bloggers visually and discursively identify themselves in particular ways.
Article
Describes some of the issues raised by electronic communication, including time and information-processing pressures, absence of regulating feedback, dramaturgical weakness, paucity of status and position cues, social anonymity, and computing norms and immature etiquette. An empirical approach for investigating the social psychological effects of electronic communication is illustrated, and how social psychological research might contribute to a deeper understanding of computers and technological change in society and computer-mediated communication (CMC) is discussed. A series of studies that explored how people participate in CMC and how computerization affects group efforts to reach consensus is described; results indicate differences in participation, decisions, and interaction among groups meeting face to face and in simultaneous computer-linked discourse and communication by electronic mail. Findings are attributed to difficulties of coordination from lack of informational feedback, absence of social influence cues for controlling discussion, and depersonalization from lack of nonverbal involvement and absence of norms. (103 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Obra que estudia cómo las nuevas tecnologías de comunicación y las redes sociales que a través de ellas se han generado dan soporte a una nueva forma de establecer relaciones entre las personas y, por lo tanto, de nuevas formas de soledad.
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Sherry Turkle is rapidly becoming the sociologist of the Internet, and that's beginning to seem like a good thing. While her first outing, The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit, made groundless assertions and seemed to be carried along more by her affection for certain theories than by a careful look at our current situation, Life on the Screen is a balanced and nuanced look at some of the ways that cyberculture helps us comment upon real life (what the cybercrowd sometimes calls RL). Instead of giving in to any one theory on construction of identity, Turkle looks at the way various netizens have used the Internet, and especially MUDs (Multi-User Dimensions), to learn more about the possibilities available in apprehending the world. One of the most interesting sections deals with gender, a topic prone to rash and partisan pronouncements. Taking as her motto William James's maxim "Philosophy is the art of imagining alternatives," Turkle shows how playing with gender in cyberspace can shape a person's real-life understanding of gender. Especially telling are the examples of the man who finds it easier to be assertive when playing a woman, because he believes male assertiveness is now frowned upon while female assertiveness is considered hip, and the woman who has the opposite response, believing that it is easier to be aggressive when she plays a male, because as a woman she would be considered "bitchy." Without taking sides, Turkle points out how both have expanded their emotional range. Other topics, such as artificial life, receive an equally calm and sage response, and the first-person accounts from many Internet users provide compelling reading and good source material for readers to draw their own conclusions.
The online disinhibition effect. Cyberpsychology & behavior: the impact of the Internet, multimedia and virtual reality on behavior and society 7
• John Suler
• Maeve Duggan
• C Ellison
• Lampe
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Is it Weird to Still Be a Virgin?:' Anonymous , Locally Targeted Questions on Facebook Confession Boards
• Jeremy Birnholtz
• Nicholas Aaron
• Ross Merola
• Arindam Paul
Jeremy Birnholtz, Nicholas Aaron, Ross Merola, and Arindam Paul. 2015. " Is it Weird to Still Be a Virgin ?:" Anonymous, Locally Targeted Questions on Facebook Confession Boards. In Proc. of CHI '15, 2613-2622.
The Many Shades of Anonymity: Characterizing Anonymous Social Media Content
• Denzil Correa
• Leandro Araãjo Silva
• Mainack Mondal
• Fabrício Benevenuto
Denzil Correa, Leandro Araújo Silva, Mainack Mondal, Fabrício Benevenuto, and Krishna P Gummadi. The Many Shades of Anonymity : Characterizing Anonymous Social Media Content. In Proc. of ICWSM '15, 71-80.
Anonymity, privacy, and security online. Pew Research Center
• Lee Rainie
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This is a Throwaway Account ": Temporary Technical Identities and Perceptions of Anonymity in a Massive Online Community
• Alex Leavitt
Alex Leavitt. 2015. " This is a Throwaway Account ": Temporary Technical Identities and Perceptions of Anonymity in a Massive Online Community. In Proc. of CSCW '15, 317-327.
Anonymity, privacy, and security online
• S Lee Rainie
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Lee Rainie, S. Kiesler, R. Kang, et al. 2013. Anonymity, privacy, and security online. Pew Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/09/05/anonymityprivacy-and-security-online/
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• Barry Wellman
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Appropriateness of self-disclosure. Self-disclosure: Origins, patterns, and implications of openness in interpersonal relationships
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