Facebook: Your Communication Style Impacts How You Lie

Are you a Broadcaster or a Communicator?

Posted Dec 12, 2011

Researchers have found that your communication style predict how much you lie on Facebook - and to what degree.  Underwood et al. (2010) studied 113 college students who actively used Facebook. 

The researchers originally thought that Facebook users could be categorized into two groups, based on style of interaction:

  • Broadcasters - Users whose primary goal is to self-promote
  • Communicators - Users whose primary goal is to maintain relationships

Researchers examined the study subjects' personalities, behavior, and Facebook activity. 


What the researchers found was that Facebook users actually fell into three categories:

  • High Broadcasters
  • High Communicators
  • High Interaction (Those that scored as High Broadcasters and High Communicators)

High Broadcasters were more likely to:

  • Be risk-takers
  • Be out-going
  • Have an absence of quality interaction

High Communicators were more likely to have:

  • Low mild social deviance

Each group interacted with the others on Facebook.  However:

High Communicators were more likely to:

  • Use white lies to help group cohesion
  • Rationalize white lies as being for the greater good of the group

High Broadcasters and High Interaction users were more likely to:

  • Be deceptive in order to promote themselves or make themselves look more important
  • Exaggerate or fabricate accomplishments and abilities

Therefore, High Communicators were more likely to lie in a non-harmful fashion in order to smooth over the rough edges in groups, while High Broadcasters and the High Interaction group were more likely to lie in order to help their own cause.

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Reference:

Underwood, et al. (2011) The lies we tell and what they say about us: Using behavioural characteristics to explain Facebook activity. Computers in Human Behavior 27(5): 1621-1626 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S074756321100032X