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metadata language: English

Online Petition Data: 2010-2013 (Germany)

Resource Type
  • Rost, Katja
  • Stahel, Lea
  • Frey, Bruno S.
Publication Date
Free Keywords
social norms; digital protest; social media; online firestorms
  • Abstract

    Social media are highly beneficial environments for not only positive but also negative word-of-mouth propagation. In reaction to any questionable statement or activity, social media users can create huge waves of outrage within just a few hours. Companies, politicians, and celebrities have increasingly been facing the impact of such aggressive online behavior. These so-called online firestorms pose new challenges for communications. This article introduces social norm theory to understand online aggression in a social-political online setting, challenging the popular assumption that online anonymity is one of the principle factors that promotes aggression. We underpin this social norm view by analyzing a major social media platform concerned with public affairs over a period of three years entailing 532,197 comments on 1,612 online petitions. Results show that in the context of online firestorms, non-anonymous individuals are more aggressive compared to anonymous individuals. This effect is reinforced if selective incentives are present and if aggressors are intrinsically motivated.

Temporal Coverage
  • 2010-05-01 / 2013-07-01
    Time period: Sat May 01 00:00:00 EDT 2010--Mon Jul 01 00:00:00 EDT 2013
Geographic Coverage
  • Germany
This study is freely available to the general public via web download.

Update Metadata: 2016-08-28 | Issue Number: 5 | Registration Date: 2016-06-28

Rost, Katja; Stahel, Lea; Frey, Bruno S. (2016): Online Petition Data: 2010-2013 (Germany). Version: 2. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.