Francesco Lomonaco


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Empowering Users and Mitigating Harm: Leveraging Nudging Principles to Enhance Social Media Safety
Gregor Donabauer | Emily Theophilou | Francesco Lomonaco | Sathya Bursic | Davide Taibi | Davinia Hernández-Leo | Udo Kruschwitz | Dimitri Ognibene
Proceedings of the Fourth Workshop on Threat, Aggression & Cyberbullying @ LREC-COLING-2024

Social media have become an integral part of our daily lives, yet they have also resulted in various negative effects on users, ranging from offensive or hateful content to the spread of misinformation. In recent years, numerous automated approaches have been proposed to identify and combat such harmful content. However, it is crucial to recognize the human aspect of users who engage with this content in designing efforts to mitigate these threats. We propose to incorporate principles of behavioral science, specifically the concept of nudging into social media platforms. Our approach involves augmenting social media feeds with informative diagrams, which provide insights into the content that users are presented. The goal of our work is to empower social media users to make well-informed decisions for themselves and for others within these platforms. Nudges serve as a means to gently draw users’ attention to content in an unintrusive manner, a crucial consideration in the context of social media. To evaluate the effectiveness of our approach, we conducted a user study involving 120 Italian-speaking participants who interacted with a social media interface augmented with these nudging diagrams. Participants who had used the augmented interface were able to outperform those using the plain interface in a successive harmful content detection test where nudging diagrams were not visible anymore. Our findings demonstrate that our approach significantly improves users’ awareness of potentially harmful content with effects lasting beyond the duration of the interaction. In this work, we provide a comprehensive overview of our experimental materials and setup, present our findings, and refer to the limitations identified during our study.