Unethical but not illegal: Uncovering the persuasive messages leveraged by providers of the “real” online social impressions

Wael Soliman, Tapani Rinta-Kahila

Tutkimustuotos: Artikkeli kirjassa/konferenssijulkaisussaConference article in proceedingsScientificvertaisarvioitu

1 Sitaatiot (Scopus)


Due to the drastically elevated prominence of social networking sites (SNS), online social impressions such as views, comments, followers, subscribers, likes, and dislikes have become a valuable currency that translates to popularity, credibility, and even financial gains. Aside from machine-generated impressions, a growing industry known as crowdturfing utilizes human workers to provide “real” social impressions as-a-service. Although crowdturfing platforms are often seen as a clear example of deceptive conduct, they justify their business by leveraging well-crafted persuasive strategies and ethical appeals. Given the increasingly significant role of online impressions on shaping people's views and opinions, the servitization of these impressions calls for a clearer understanding. To address this call, we set out to investigate 1) What persuasive strategies do crowdturfing agents leverage to promote their service offerings?; and 2) To what extent these offerings can be ethically justified? Our analysis reveals utilization of three key persuasive strategies - namely, educational messages, bragging messages, and reassuring messages. Moreover, we find that they use various ethical appeals which largely depend on the conception of what 'real' means. The theoretical and practical significance of these findings are discussed.

OtsikkoECIS 2018 Proceedings
KustantajaAssociation for Information Systems
ISBN (elektroninen)978-1-86137-667-1
TilaJulkaistu - 2018
OKM-julkaisutyyppiA4 Artikkeli konferenssijulkaisussa
TapahtumaEuropean Conference on Information Systems - Portsmouth, Iso-Britannia
Kesto: 23 kesäk. 201828 kesäk. 2018
Konferenssinumero: 26


ConferenceEuropean Conference on Information Systems


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