Consumer Bullying in Online Brand Communities—Quantifying a Dark Social Media Phenomenon

Warke, O., Breitsohl, J. and Jose, J. (2022) Consumer Bullying in Online Brand Communities—Quantifying a Dark Social Media Phenomenon. In: Reis, J.L., López, E.P., Moutinho, L. and Santos, J.P.M.d. (eds.) Marketing and Smart Technologies. Series: Smart innovation, systems and technologies, 279. Springer: Singapore, pp. 641-651. ISBN 9789811692673 (doi: 10.1007/978-981-16-9268-0_54)

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Whilst authors in the marketing literature have made some qualitative suggestions that aggressive consumer-to-consumer interactions (i.e., bullying) negatively affect users’ social media experience, there is no quantitative evidence to substantiate such propositions. Moreover, several studies emphasize that large brands such as Nike and Coca Cola are reluctant to get involved when consumer interactions turn hostile. Applying text mining techniques from computer science to a novel phenomenon in marketing, this paper aims to provide a quantitative overview of the prevalence and impact of bullying in online brand communities, and the potential effectiveness of brand responses. To this purpose, we scraped data from the official Facebook community of 14 retail brands (e.g., Lidl, Tesco) for a 3-month period, analyzed the content and sentiment of consumer comments that classified as bullying, and ran t-tests to measure the impact of a brand response. Analyzing a total of 49,866 comments, our findings offer detailed insights on the average bullying rate for retailers’ online brand communities and significant variations in bullying between these retailers. Furthermore, we show that bullying has a largely negative emotional impact on community users, and that a brand who responds to bullying can cause a substantial, positive sentiment shift. We thus offer theoretical and managerial contributions to the novel and under-researched ‘dark side of social media’ in the digital marketing literature.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Jose, Professor Joemon and Warke, Mr Oliver and Breitsohl, Dr Jan
Authors: Warke, O., Breitsohl, J., and Jose, J.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Computing Science
College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management

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