People can see how others respond to charitable events on social networking sites (SNSs). The effect of the presence of others can be explained by two contrastive accounts: the bystander effect and social learning theory. The former predicts that the perceived presence of others causes people to be less likely to help people, whereas the latter predicts the opposite. This research supported the social learning theory by finding that the perceived presence of others on SNSs positively affected intention to help, recommending behavior, and monetary donation via the mediating effects of awareness of needs and perceived responsibility to help. Additionally, this study proposed that perceived tie strength between SNS friends and psychological closeness between donors and beneficiaries would moderate the effects of the perceived presence of others. The results did not empirically confirm the moderating effect of tie strength but supported the negative moderating effect of psychological closeness.
Wu, Ling-Ling; Lee, Yi-Chen; and Fan, Yang-Ching, "Presence of Others and Online Helping Behavior" (2019). PACIS 2019 Proceedings. 225.