(In)Visible Threats? The Third-Person Effect in Perceptions of the Influence of Facebook

Paradise, Angela; Sullivan, Meghan
January 2012
CyberPsychology, Behavior & Social Networking;Jan2012, Vol. 15 Issue 1, p55
Academic Journal
The popularity of Facebook has generated numerous discussions on the individual-level effects of social networking. However, we know very little about people's perceptions of the effects of the most popular social networking site, Facebook. The current investigation reports the findings from a survey designed to help us better understand young people's estimates of the perceived negative effects of Facebook use on themselves and others in regard to three outcome categories: (1) personal relationships, (2) future employment opportunities, and (3) privacy. Congruent with Davidson's third-person effect theory, respondents, when asked about the three outcome categories, believed that the use of Facebook had a larger negative impact on others (e.g., 'your closest friends,' 'younger people,' 'people in your Facebook network of friends,' and 'Facebook users in general') than on themselves. Overall, results were inconclusive when it came to the link between the third-person perceptual gap and support for enhanced regulation of Facebook. Implications and limitations of this research are discussed.


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