Lying on the Internet

Lying on the Internet

Stepan Konecny (Masaryk University, Czech Republic)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0315-8.ch078
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Mass media often presents a warped image of the Internet as an unreliable environment in which nobody can be trusted. In this entry, the authors describe lying on the Internet both in the context of lying in the real world and with respect to the special properties of computer-mediated communication (CMC). They deal with the most frequent motives for lying online, such as increasing one’s attractiveness or experimenting with identities. They also take into account the various environments of the Internet and their individual effects on various properties of lying. The current methods for detecting lies and the potential for future computer-linguistic analysis of hints for lying in electronic communication are also considered.
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We may consider lying online from a communication functionality perspective as both a behavioral goal and a means of reaching certain goals. The purpose of lying is the intentional deception of our communication counterparts via electronic communication. This by itself presents a perfect means of manipulating information so that our counterpart creates a desirable presentation of ourselves. Since the self-presentation options available online are nowadays comparable with self-presentation options in real life, self-presentation is rapidly becoming an important part of the individual’s identity on the internet. In real life, people are viewed through the information observed by us (e.g. by observing their behavior) and through information the individual has given us. However, on the internet this more-or-less balanced relation dramatically shifts to the latter, i.e. intentionally provided information about an individual. In this perspective, the internet represents a world without the possibility of immediate verification of presented information. The only ways to detect lies seem to be inconsistencies or contradictory claims. The online environment offers individuals the option to present information in a relatively free way, with a high chance of persuading others that a provided self-presentation is real.

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