CIS 720 Seminar – A Talk on Social Media Harassment by Prof. Bo Sophia

Dear CIS Students and Faculty,

Please join us at the CIS 720 Seminar this Monday, November 30
(4:30p-5:30p HST) for Prof. Bo Sophia Xiao’s talk, “Standing Up or
Standing By: Understanding Bystanders’ Proactive Reporting Responses
to Social Media Harassment.”

Social media harassment, a cyberbullying behavior, poses a serious
threat to users and owners of social media. A growing body of research
suggests involving bystanders in interventions to combat deviant
behaviors. In this paper, we contextualize the bystander intervention
framework and reporting literature to social media in order to
understand why bystanders report social media harassment. Our
contextualized intervention framework focuses on three sociotechnical
aspects—the online social environment, characteristics of the
technology platform, and their interplay—that shape bystander
reporting on social media platforms. We tested the model using data
gathered from 291 active Facebook users. We found that four
contextualized factors, (1) perceived emergency of the social media
harassment incident, (2) perceived responsibility to report, (3)
perceived self-efficacy in using built-in reporting functions, and (4)
perceived outcome effectiveness of built-in reporting functions for
tackling social media harassment, shaped bystanders’ willingness to
intervene against social media harassment. In addition, we showed that
perceived anonymity of the reporting system counterbalances the
negative influence of the presence of others on bystanders’
willingness to intervene. For research, we contribute to the
cyberbullying literature by offering a novel sociotechnical
explanation of mechanisms that shape bystanders’ willingness to report
social media harassment. For practice, we offer insight into how to
build safer and secure social media platforms for all users.


Prof. Bo Sophia Xiao is a Shidler College Distinguished Associate
Professor (Endowed)
in the Information Technology Management Department. She is Associate
Editor for  Management Information Systems Quarterly.