The Online Bystander Effect: Evidence from a Study on Synchronous Facebook Communications

  • Andrea Guazzini
  • Enrico ImbimboEmail author
  • Federica Stefanelli
  • Giulia Bravi
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11938)


According to the Bystander Effect, the tendency to help a victim in a problematic situation decreases with the number of spectators to whom the request for help is made The main aim of this study is to investigate this phenomenon in an online environment characterised by synchronous communication. This paper evaluates how some subjective variables and the participants’ familiarity with online interactions can affect the tendency to help others. The results of the study show that the Bystander Effect is present even in online environments. In particular, the results indicate that the tendency to help decreases not linearly with the increasing of the group size which received the help request. Moreover, the familiarity that a person has with online interactions has a significant association with his tendency to help. Finally, the general self-efficacy and social desirability appear as predictors of Bystander behaviour during online interactions with a victim.


Bystander effect Online social dynamics Online prosocial behaviour 


Author Contributions

A.G. supervised the whole work. G.B. executed the experiments. A.G. executed the statistical analysis. E.I, F.S. and G.B wrote the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrea Guazzini
    • 1
  • Enrico Imbimbo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Federica Stefanelli
    • 1
  • Giulia Bravi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Education, Languages, Intercultures, Literatures and PsychologyUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly

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