Looking for trouble: A multilevel analysis of disagreeable contacts in online social networks

Buglass, S.L. ORCID: 0000-0002-1079-8461, Binder, J.F. ORCID: 0000-0002-1083-7109, Betts, L.R. ORCID: 0000-0002-6147-8089 and Underwood, J.D.M. ORCID: 0000-0002-6895-0251, 2016. Looking for trouble: A multilevel analysis of disagreeable contacts in online social networks. Computers in Human Behavior. ISSN 0747-5632

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Identifying characteristics of troublemakers in online social networks, those contacts who violate norms via disagreeable or unsociable behaviour, is vital for supporting preventative strategies for undesirable, psychologically damaging online interactions. To date characterising troublemakers has relied on self-reports focused on the network holder, largely overlooking the role of network friends. In the present study, information was obtained on 5113 network contacts from 52 UK-based Facebook users (age range 13 – 45; 75% female) using digitally derived data and in-depth network surveys. Participants rated their contacts in terms of online disagreement, relational closeness and interaction patterns. Characteristics of online troublemakers were explored using binary logistic multilevel analysis. Instances of online disagreement were most apparent in the networks of emerging adults (19 to 21 years). Contacts were more likely to be identified as online troublemakers if they were well connected within the network. Rates of offline and Facebook exchanges interacted such that contacts known well offline but with low rates of Facebook communication were more likely to be identified as troublemakers. This may indicate that users were harbouring known troublemakers in a bid to preserve offline relationships and reputational status. Implications are discussed in terms of an individual’s susceptibility to undesirable encounters online.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Computers in Human Behavior
Creators: Buglass, S.L., Binder, J.F., Betts, L.R. and Underwood, J.D.M.
Publisher: Pergamon Press
Date: 29 December 2016
ISSN: 0747-5632
S0747563216309074Publisher Item Identifier
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 27 Jan 2017 16:21
Last Modified: 01 May 2020 09:13
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/30054

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