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Will Facebook save or destroy social capital? An empirical investigation into the effect of online interactions on trust and networks

[working paper]

Sabatini, Fabio; Sarracino, Francesco

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Corporate Editor GESIS - Leibniz-Institut für Sozialwissenschaften
Abstract Studies in the social capital literature have documented two stylised facts: first, a decline in measures of social participation has occurred in many OECD countries. Second, and more recently, the success of social networking sites (SNSs) has resulted in a steep rise in online social participation. Our study adds to this body of research by conducting the first empirical assessment of how online networking affects two economically relevant aspects of social capital, i.e. trust and sociability. We find that participation in SNSs such as Facebook and Twitter has a positive effect on face-to-face interactions. However, social trust decreases with online interactions. We argue that the rising practice of hate speech may play a crucial role in the destruction of trust.
Keywords facebook; social capital; OECD member country; social participation; digital divide; social network; confidence; sociability; behavior; interaction; social relations
Classification Interactive, electronic Media; Sociology of Communication, Sociology of Language, Sociolinguistics
Method empirical
Document language English
Publication Year 2014
City Mannheim
Page/Pages 47 p.
Series GESIS-Working Papers, 2014/30
ISSN 1869-0491
Status Published Version
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications