The role of persuasion knowledge, assessment of benefit and harm, and third-person perception in coping with online behavioral advertising
Online behavioral advertising (OBA) provides Internet users with potential benefit (relevant ads) and harm (privacy infringement) through personalized covert persuasion tactics, making it an interesting case for understanding perceptions of media effects. In study 1 (survey), we found that subjective persuasion knowledge of OBA was positively related to third-person perception (TPP). Importantly, the assessment of the potential harm and benefit of OBA mediated the relationship between subjective persuasion knowledge and TPP. Objective persuasion knowledge however was only indirectly related to TPP via subjective persuasion knowledge. TPP related to personal (accept, avoid OBA) but not social-level (pro-regulation) coping measures. Study 2 (experiment) replicated study 1 and showed that the perceived effect of OBA on self (not others) drove the TPP and the responses to personal outcome measures. Implications for understanding perceived media effects and response to OBA are discussed.