When Do People Trust Their Social Groups?

ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems

By: Xiao Ma, Justin Cheng, Shankar Iyer, Mor Naaman

Abstract

Trust facilitates cooperation and supports positive outcomes in social groups, including member satisfaction, information sharing, and task performance. Extensive prior research has examined individuals’ general propensity to trust, as well as the factors that contribute to their trust in specific groups. Here, we build on past work to present a comprehensive framework for predicting trust in groups. By surveying 6,383 Facebook Groups users about their trust attitudes and examining aggregated behavioral and demographic data for these individuals, we show that (1) an individual’s propensity to trust is associated with how they trust their groups, (2) groups that are smaller, closed, older, more exclusive or more homogeneous are trusted more, and (3) a group’s overall friendship-network structure and an individual’s position within that structure further predict trust. Last, we demonstrate how group trust predicts outcomes at both individual and group level such as the formation of new friendship ties.