Toxicity has increased on social networking sites (SNSs), sparking a debate on its underlying causes. While research readily explored eligible social factors, disorder induced by the very nature of SNSs has been neglected so far. The relationship between disorder and deviant behaviors could be revealed within the offline sphere. Incorporating the theoretical lens of the Broken Windows Theory, we propose that a similar mechanism is prevalent in the online context. To test the hypothesis that perceived disorder increases toxicity on SNSs, the study compares two subcommunities on Reddit dedicated to the same topic that differ in their perceived disorder. Sampling the toxicity scores via data collection and natural language processing yields the first evidence for our hypothesis. We further outline subsequent studies that aim to investigate further the phenomenon of how disorder-related factors contribute to toxic online environments.
Messerschmidt, Nils; Gundlach, Jana; and Baumann, Annika, "A Look Through a Broken Window: The Relationship Between Disorder and Toxicity on Social Networking Sites" (2023). ECIS 2023 Research-in-Progress Papers. 9.