Purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine the dark side of instant messaging from the technological and societal perspectives. Design/methodology/approach: With the help of literature review and different theories, a model has been developed conceptually. Later the model has been validated using statistical method. The authors have used 304 responses from the survey method, and this sample has been used to statistically validate the conceptual model. Findings: This paper has been able to explicitly investigate and identify how different instant messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, WeChat in the form of electronic word of mouth (e-WOM) are contributing toward increase of mob lynching cases. The paper also highlights the important to have effective and enforceable regulation to regulate instant messaging services to the citizens. Research limitations/implications: The findings cannot be generalized as the data is collected from India only. Moreover, the study is cross-sectional in nature. To get the comprehensive results, a longitudinal study needs to be conducted. This study considered seven constructs with one moderator. Having more predictors with other boundary conditions might have increased the explanative power of the model. Practical implications: Instant messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, WeChat and so on are disseminating quick unverified information to the common people. This information sometimes is disseminated in inappropriate and exaggerated forms. This makes the instant messaging (WhatsApp) users' sentiment readily heated in some cases. They take such an action as mob lynching. This study determines the predictors of mob lynching along with the moderator impact of instant messaging in the society. Originality/value: There are only a few studies those have explored the dark side of instant messaging. The proposed theoretical model is a unique model, which shows the predictors of mob lynching along with the negative consequences of the instant messaging (WhatsApp) in the society. From this perspective, this study can be considered as a unique study.
- Instant messaging
- Mob lynching