A Lie Never Lives to be Old: The Effects of Fake Social Information on Consumer Decision-Making in Crowdfunding

Michael Wessel, Ferdinand Thies, Alexander Benlian

Publikation: Bidrag til bog/antologi/rapportKonferencebidrag i proceedingsForskningpeer review


The growing success of social media led to a strong presence of social information such as customer product reviews and product ratings in electronic markets. While this information helps consumers to better assess the quality of goods before purchase, its impact on consumer decision-making also incentivizes sellers to game the system by creating fake data in favor of specific goods in order to deliberately mislead consumers. As a consequence, consumers could make suboptimal choices or could choose to disregard social information altogether. In this exploratory study, we assess the effects non-genuine social information has on the consumer’s decision-making in the context of reward-based crowdfunding. Specifically, we capture unnatural peaks in the number of Facebook Likes that a specific crowdfunding campaign receives on the platforms Kickstarter and Indiegogo and observe subsequent campaign performance. Our results show that fake Facebook Likes have a very short-term positive effect on the number of backers participating in the respective crowdfunding campaign. However, this peak in participation is then followed by a period in which participation is lower than prior to the existence of the non-genuine social information. We further discuss circumstances that foster this artificial manipulation of quality signals.
TitelECIS 2015 Proceedings
RedaktørerJörg Becker, Jan vom Brocke, Marco De Marco
Antal sider16
UdgivelsesstedAtlanta, GA
ForlagAssociation for Information Systems. AIS Electronic Library (AISeL)
ISBN (Elektronisk)9783000502842
StatusUdgivet - 2015
Udgivet eksterntJa
BegivenhedThe 23rd European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS) 2015 - Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Münster, Tyskland
Varighed: 26 maj 201529 maj 2015
Konferencens nummer: 23


KonferenceThe 23rd European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS) 2015
LokationWestfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
NavnProceedings of the European Conference on Information Systems


  • Fake social information
  • Perceived quality
  • Signaling
  • Crowdfunding
  • Facebook likes