The purpose of this research in progress is to explore the potential use of virtual influencers (VIs) for social good. The problem of ethnic relations in society has become one of the most controversial and challenging issues of the 21st century, impacting the lives of almost everyone. Our theoretical framework is grounded in parasocial relations and intergroup contact theory. We use an initial exploratory focus group to get more general feedback about the VIs’ potential usefulness and utility in this type of social campaign. Based on preliminary insights, VI appears to be a promising tool for reducing interethnic intolerance in online youth communication, but its success would be highly dependent on the quality and appeal of its content. Our future research endeavors need to improve our understanding and to further clarify how a VI artifact in a particular setting can be utilized for this socially beneficial purpose.
Levkov, Nikola; Santa, Mijalche; and Kitanovikj, Bojan, "EXPLORING VIRTUAL INFLUENCERS' POTENTIAL TO REDUCE INTERETHNIC INTOLERANCE IN ONLINE YOUTH COMMUNICATION" (2023). ECIS 2023 Research-in-Progress Papers. 63.