Race and the beauty premium: Mechanical Turk workers’ evaluations of Twitter accounts

Race, gender, and physical attractiveness strongly affect perceptions of trustworthiness and subsequent face-to-face interactions. This study examines how social media users’ perceived gender, race, and physical attractiveness can impact their standing online. We test these broad hypotheses by having Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) workers evaluate a sample of 816 Twitter accounts. Our results show a ‘beauty premium,’ where MTurk workers say they are more likely to follow Twitter accounts with attractive profile photos, and attractive photos are positively associated with evaluations of trust. However, very attractive Black male and female Twitter accounts are associated with lower evaluations of trust compared to their White counterparts. These findings suggest that social media users’ social characteristics, perceived from their username or profile image, can replicate offline inequality online.

Publication Date:
Nov 15 2018
Date Submitted:
Jul 10 2019
Information, Communication & Society

Note: The file is under embargo until: 2020-12-31

 Record created 2019-07-10, last modified 2019-07-11

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