Competitive Desires & Personal Information Deception in Social Media

Everyone experiences all kinds of competition every day, either with his classmates or himself, or with time. Even what we consider to be the easiest social media is full of competition. In “Competition and Information Deception in Online Social Networks”, Church and Thambusamy study the roots of competitive desire within online social network (OSN) through an experiment by using Bagozzi’s self-regulation framework of attitudes, desires, and behavior. Through several hypothesis and research, authors find that the desire for competition stems from five elements, namely, misrepresentation intention, refusal intention, competitive norms, status benefits and hedonic benefits. It is these factors that drive people to conceal or even deceive personal information in the network.

Based on the inevitable network peer competition, the variability of personal data makes people have the intention of distorting personal data in order to maximize their competitiveness. In addition, OSN users usually do not refuse to provide personal information because it will decrease their hedonic benefits. The willingness to provide personal information also opens up the possibility of information fraud. In addition to the influence of the above two intentions on the desire for competition, there are three appraisal factors that have a significant effect on competition. First, as milavan mentioned the point that connects with Garcia et al’ article, social comparison as a kind of competitive social norm, it inspires people’s desire to participate in competition. Moreover, it is obvious that personal information deception (PID) really brings some status benefits and hedonic benefits, which also increase competitive desire.

However, although the competitive online social environment does have some problems, such as information deception and pressure on people, from business perspective, the competitive environment also provides huge benefits for social media. Like we learned from Roberta Wiig Berg, in terms of any social media company, The increase in users and the users‘ active participation in this competitive environment will only allow social media to continue to choose competition rather than cooperation. So the only thing we can do is to adjust our mindset to deal with these issues in social networks. Don’t let yourself be trapped in such a competitive environment, but also consciously judge the true and false information in the network instead of blindly competing.



  1. This was a very informative response and I especially like how the picture directly connected to the material. In your last paragraph, you mention that online social networks are competitive environments and that we should be aware of that when using them. To further extend this topic,
    in your opinion, is being aware of the competitiveness in an environment, yet still competing in it/using it going to increase or decrease use of deception for that person?


  2. Yes, even though everyone is aware of the competitive online environment, we still cannot stop the competition, and someone still wants to use information deception. I want to say that if we really cannot change it, we can think about what we actually want to do with social media, whether it’s a fake competition or use it to chat with friends.


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