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Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2013 Mar;16(3):175-82. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2012.0265. Epub 2013 Feb 1.

Between likes and shares: effects of emotional appeal and virality on the persuasiveness of anticyberbullying messages on Facebook.

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  • 1Department of Advertising + Public Relations, Michigan State University, 404 Wilson Road, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA.


Growth in the popularity of social networking sites (SNSs) such as Facebook has been accompanied by unintended negative results (e.g., cyberbullying). SNSs could offer solutions, as well. In this article, we explore the persuasive effects of the emotional appeal and message virality of Facebook status updates. Using status updates for a fictitious anticyberbullying organization, we conducted a 3×2×2×3 (emotional tone × affective evaluation × viral reach × message repetition) mixed factorial experiment (N=365). Positive messages resulted in more positive message evaluations and stronger anticyberbullying attitudes and viral behavioral intentions. Further, low message virality led to the most favorable message evaluations, while high virality resulted in stronger anticyberbullying attitudes.

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