Online Deceptive Impression Management: Self-admission and Other Estimates of False Facebook-selves

Tim Möller, Bram Doms, Mariëlle Stel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Background: People deceive online. There is, however, mixed evidence about whether people present themselves falsely on Facebook. We investigated to what extent people present their true selves on Facebook. As generally, people estimate their own behavior as ‘less evil’ than the behaviors of others, we also assessed people’s estimations of whether other people present their true selves on Facebook. Methods: In two studies (n=94, n=189), participants filled in a survey asking them to report how frequently and intensely they falsely present themselves on Facebook and in which ways. They were also asked to estimate this for other Facebook users. Results: The results showed that the majority of participants were not always honest on Facebook regarding their personality, unbeneficial information, and emotional state. A minority of participants provided false information in comments. We also obtained the ‘less deceptive than thou’ effect: Participants estimated that others more frequently and intensively engage in deception. Conclusion: The current research has led to new findings showing that the majority of the participants engage in deceptive self-presentational behavior and estimate others to be more deceptive than they are.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere187435012206090
JournalOpen Psychology Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Aug 2022


  • Deception
  • Facebook
  • Impression management
  • Internet
  • Self-presentation
  • Social networks


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