Competition Desire and Information Deception with Involvement of Social Comparison

In the study of Church and Thambusamy (2018), “Competition and Information Deception in Online Social Networks”, they proposed a model that illustrate factors (results are found to be significant in status benefits and hedonic benefits) that lead to desire for competition on online social networks which leads to personal information deception (i.e., not being honest about one’s personal information).

Reading this article reminds me of Instagram posts. There are tons of news and articles that reveal the truth behind Instagram posts. Many posts are unreal. Photos are being photoshopped, taking pictures at some corners on the street but tagging a different city or country to pretend they are traveling, and some people even steal photos of others. Those people create fake posts because of their feelings of being competitive. They enjoy photoshopping or adding filters on pictures because doing so makes the pictures beautiful (hedonic benefits). They want to obtain as many likes and followers as possible by taking others’ photos and pretending (status benefits). They may also want to benefit from both happiness and popularity (hedonic + status benefits).

The model of online competition desire and information deception also connects well to the social comparison model of competition proposed by Garcia et al. (2013). In short, Garcia et al. hypothesize that social comparison leads to competition desire, and therefore lead to competitive behaviour. The three factors in the online competition model, competitive norms, status benefits, and hedonic benefits can involve social comparison. We can compare ourselves with others to compete and gain higher status and more joy. Then, the desire to compete online leads to competitive behaviour, personal information deception in this case. Both models support each other’s claims.

6 Comments

  1. This was an interesting read. I like how you brought together information from the article and applied it to instagram (which is highly used by teenagers today). Having said that, I am interested to know whether you think this could be just a way to boost self confidence. So do you think competitive behaviour could play a role in one’s self confidence?

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  2. Thanks for your post! I didn’t end up choosing this article to read, but I thought you did a really good job of explaining what the post was about without needing a background of the paper. I also really like your connection to Garcia’s paper, as it seems very relevant to the discussion of this paper. Like you, I find that the pressures of Instagram and other social medias to be very relevant to this article. I personally find the artificial sense of happiness and success on social media to be very intimidating, as I’m sure most other people do as well. Good work!

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  3. I felt very impressed by this post. I especially liked how you explained hedonistic and status benefits with real Instagram examples. I think there are bound to be certain trends in how people are trying to achieve these benefits on Instagram. In other words, people might tend to be more competitive by using certain common deceptions. What do you think this these deceptions are and what do you think it says about what we value in society?

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  4. Hi! Thank you for reading my article and commenting on my post.
    Whether competitive behavior could play a role in one’s self-confidenc, I think it depends on how the individual perceives about such competition on social media. One can increase his/her confidence if he/she gains either hedonic or status benefits, or both. But one can have decreased self-confidence even if he/she is successful due to other psychological or social factors. One could also have increased or decreased self-confidence depending on what types of social comparisons he/she chooses. According to Garcia et al., there are two social comparisons. Overall, I think an individual could boost confidence only if the person is viewing the positively and gains something in the competition.
    Thank you again for sharing your thoughts. I really like your question!

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  5. Hi! Thank you for commenting my post and that you liked it.
    I think the commone deceptions on social media would be real and sensitive things that people do not want to share in their life. They may choose to hide and not mention about things they do not want to share. Some people may decide to make up things that are opposite of what are actually happening in life.
    To use the online competition model in the article, we can use it as one way of explaining what we value in our society. People hide and lie the truth because they want to gain happiness and fame. They think they should post something good and special.
    However, I think one benefit of not choosing to disclose personal information online is to protect ourselves. This allows free speech, anonymity and privacy.
    I really like your questions and please share with me your thoughts as well, I am curious how you think!

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  6. I definitely agree that one benefit of not disclosing personal information is free speech and privacy. However, I feel like sometimes this element of privacy is taken too far when we only show others the parts about ourselves that we may like and in turn further solidify our inner struggles and insecurities. The competition of online is not a community that tends to accept every part of who we are, whether thats the extra roll on our curvaceous figures or our personal encounters with mental illness. This indicates that our online communities tend to favor a facade of happiness and perfection over a common, human reality.

    We also have to acknowledge ourselves, how we contribute to this ongoing problem. I can’t even count the number of times I have liked those perfect-looking, tiny waisted, surgically enhanced bodies on Instagram, while scrolling past a more real, makeup-free selfie.

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