“This Is the Future of Advertising!” Or Is It? New Insights into the Justifiability of Deceptive Crowdwork in Cyberspace

Kauppila, Santtu
Soliman, Wael
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Unlike classical forms of deception where the deceiver deceives their victims directly, the crowdsourcing of cyber deception provides a powerful and cost-effective mechanism for deceivers to create and spread falsehood from the shadows. But for a mass deception campaign to be effective, the crowdworkers must rationalize (and willingly accept) their role in the deceptive act. What, then, could justify participation in a mass-deception campaign? To answer this question, we adopt the qualitative vignette approach and utilize neutralization theory as our guiding lens. Our results point to several neutralization techniques that crowdworkers could invoke to convincingly rationalize involvement in a cyber deception campaign. Importantly, the findings shed new light on a growing pessimism about work ethics in cyberspace which may lead some ordinary people into joining deception campaigns, believing it to be the future of advertising. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of these novel insights.
Critical and Ethical Studies of Digital and Social Media, crowdsourced deception, crowdturfing, cyber deception, neutralization theory, qualitative vignette
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