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The means to justify the end: How the way in which decisions to intervene are communicated to users can combat cyber harassment in social media

van Laer, T. (2013). The means to justify the end: How the way in which decisions to intervene are communicated to users can combat cyber harassment in social media. Advances in Consumer Research, 41(1), pp. 405-406.


Cyber harassment does not only have harmful effects for social network sites, because victims tend to exit the service (Avery 2010; Martin and Smith 2008), but the emotional distress brought on by the online aggression has also caused victims to take their own lives (Parker 2012). At the same time, social media users are often upset when network providers intervene with the network and deem such an intrusion an unjust occurrence (Brunk 2012; Davis 2007; Pruitt 2003). The general aim of this paper is to answer the call for “making a difference” research that the Association for Consumer Research North American Conference 2013 has put out. Our intention has been to explore how the aforementioned catch-22 can be resolved through framing the ways in which decisions to intervene are communicated to users. This work expands on existing persuasion and victim identification effects. First, we contend that a decision to intervene based on a story has a more positive effect on user perception that the decision is just than an analytical, factual format. We further distinguish two main components of identity: personal and social (Dollinger et al. 1996; Reid and Deaux 1996). We explore whether the effect of the story over the analytical format holds across both components. Second, we further understanding of the mechanism underlying the presentation format effect. We examine whether the narrative transportation that people experience may lead to a justice perception that the story events imply. Third, we move beyond the prediction that presentation format will be associated with justice perception by exploring an intraindividual moderator that influences this relationship. The current research investigates why self-referencing may lead to either less or more positive justice perceptions under the framework of the story and analytical presentation format

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2013 Association for Consumer Research. Permission to add this article to City Research Online has been granted by the publisher.
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
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