Effects of Information Overload, Communication Overload, and Inequality on Digital Distrust: A Cyber-Violence Behavior Mechanism

Frontiers in Psychology 12 (2021)
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In recent years, there has been an escalation in cases of cyber violence, which has had a chilling effect on users' behavior toward social media sites. This article explores the causes behind cyber violence and provides empirical data for developing means for effective prevention. Using elements of the stimulus–organism–response theory, we constructed a model of cyber-violence behavior. A closed-ended questionnaire was administered to collect data through an online survey, which results in 531 valid responses. A proposed model was tested using partial least squares structural equation modeling using SmartPLS 3.0, v. Research findings show that information inequality is a strong external stimulus with a significant positive impact on digital distrust and negative emotion. However, the effects of information overload on digital distrust and the adverse effects of communication overload on negative emotions should not be ignored. Both digital distrust and negative emotions have significant positive impacts on cyber violence and cumulatively represent 11.5% changes in cyber violence. Furthermore, information overload, communication overload, information inequality, and digital distrust show a 27.1% change in negative emotions. This study also presents evidence for competitive mediation of digital distrust by information overload, information inequality, and cyber violence. The results of this study have implications for individual practitioners and scholars, for organizations, and at the governmental level regarding cyber-violence behavior. To test our hypotheses, we have constructed an empirical, multidimensional model, including the role of specific mediators in creating relationships.



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