"Liking" or "following" a page on the social networking site Facebook is a new form of humanitarian support and civic engagement and, according to a study.
Petter Bae Brandtzaeg and Ida Maria Haugstveit of Scandinavian research organization SINTEF in Oslo, Norway, surveyed more than 400 Facebook users about their habits on the site and their propensity to "like" a particular humanitarian cause or organization.
The team asked 405 users questions regarding activity and the team found that there were essentially six different liking practices associated with humanitarian causes with a presence on Facebook i.e. socially responsible liking, emotional liking, informational liking, social performative liking, low-cost liking and routine liking.
Brandtzaeg said that despite the controversy about slacktivism, many Facebook users in this sample believed that 'liking' a humanitarian cause could make a difference and this was strengthened by the fact that socially responsible 'liking' was the most common motivation and for the perceived motivation for liking a humanitarian cause.
The study is published in the International Journal of Web Based Communities.