||Compared to ways of face-to-face communication in the past, the internet exists with the nature of anonymity in addition to being convenient, easy-to-use, and free of time and place. Online anonymity improves online communication, protects personnel privacy in order to benefit the freedom of speech on specific issues, but it brings about some negative effects, such as getting rid of responsibility and network crimes. Hence, it is a must to understand the causes and consequences of online anonymity concern. Past research on online anonymity mostly has focused on using experimental method or situational manipulation to examine the effects of anonymity. To the knowledge of the authors, there have been no studies that have advanced an integrated framework to discuss the causes and consequences of online anonymity concern. This study is to make a breakthrough in the lack of the extant research on online anonymity in terms of an integrated research in order to explain the antecedents and the consequences of anonymity adoption behavior of online users.
Since users with online experiences are targeted to be the research subjects, using online questionnaires is an appropriate sampling method. After two-month’s collection, a total of 360 questionnaires were returned, and the valid questionnaires were 345 after 15 invalid copies deducted. AMOS 6.0 and Structural Equation Modeling were used to measure path effects and hypothesis testing in order to analyze the causes and consequences of online anonymity concern.
The findings reveal that, for online users, the three motivations of Computer-mediated Communication Apprehension, Privacy Protection and Attention to Social Comparison Information have significantly positive effects on anonymity concern. Among them, privacy protection concerns online users most. Next, on the positive effect of anonymity concern, the communication satisfaction outweighs the self-disclosure, while the negative effect of deindividuation excels that of the self-awareness.