User comments have become an integral part of news websites. This study implements the well-validated theory of planned behavior (TPB) in order to understand the individual decision to post anonymous comments on news sites in Israel. We examine whether commenting is a spontaneous behavior, as has been argued in previous studies, or a reasoned behavior. Based on an internet survey (N = 707), the present study results support the hypothesis that the process involved in posting a comment in a specific socio-political context involves a reasoned action that can be understood by applying a generic theoretical model. Empirical support for TPB model hypotheses for intention prediction was evident, with the subjective norm-intention relation stronger than the attitude and perceived behavioral control–intention relations. In spite of the anonymous nature of the comments, findings highlight the relevance of the perceived socio-political context for individuals’ decision whether to post an anonymous comment.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the Israel Science Foundation [898/14].
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- participatory journalism
- theory of planned behavior
- user comments