Vito Tassiello Matteo De Angelis Cesare Amatulli

Online communication channels and social risk in sharing extreme opinions

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This research investigates the role of a previously unexplored dimension of electronic word-of-mouth (eWom) content - namely, the extremeness of people's opinions - in the context of conversations about controversial topics. Specifically, it examines the effect of opinion extremeness on eWom likelihood, advancing the idea that such an effect is moderated by the online communication channel that people use for sharing. In particular, the authors propose that online communication channels can be distinguished according to the level of social disapproval that users risk when sharing (referred to as social risk). The main hypothesis is that consumers are more likely to share more extreme opinions about controversial topics when using online platforms that present low social risk, while such a difference is less likely to appear on online platforms that present higher social risk. Three experimental studies - using email systems as an instance of risk-minimizing platforms and open posts on one's social network pages as an instance of risk-amplifying platforms - provide empirical support for the proposed theoretical account.


  • Extreme Opinions
  • Ewom
  • Online Communication Channels
  • Social Risk


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