Congratulations to Dr. Jinkyung (Katie) Park on her journal article accepted at the Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 2023 (JFES 2023).
How Affordances and Social Norms Shape the Discussion of Harmful Social Media Challenges on Reddit
Jinkyung Park, Irina Lediaeva, Maria Lopez, Amy Godfrey, Kapil Chalil Madathil, Heidi Zinzow, and Pamela Wisniewski
Abstract: Social media challenges are activities performed by an individual or a group and uploaded to social media platforms to achieve a specific goal. We sought to understand how harmful social media challenges are portrayed on Reddit. Therefore, we analyzed 1,552 Reddit posts and 7,092 comments about inherently risky social media challenges (e.g., Cinnamon, Blue Whale, Fire). We found that posts discussed the participation of others (40%), perceptions on the challenges (24%), prevention/raising awareness (18%), seeking information (10%), and one’s own participation in a challenge (8%). Comments included offensive commentary towards those who participated, tips and tricks on how to perform a challenge, and Reddit moderation of these posts. We uncovered that the affordances and social norms on Reddit contributed to a lack of propagation of harmful challenges on the platform. Our research contributes to an in-depth empirical understanding of how harmful social media challenges are discussed on Reddit and suggests ways to design affordances and reinforce positive social norms to prevent the spread of social media challenges that promote self-harm.