Why Lying on Facebook is Good Prosocial Behaviour

Like it or not, there are multiple reasons for lying on Facebook.

In SpottyWood and HandCock’s (not exactly how they spell their surnames, 2016) investigation, they uncovered that “participants post prosocial lies on Facebook when posting publicly on the site”. Prosocial lies? You know, those posted deceptions that “involve the transmission of information that misleads and benefits a target (Levine & Schweitzer, 2014 as cited in Levine & Schweitzer, 2015 … and why not cite yourself in your own paper). In Levine and Schweitzer’s (2015) experiment they found that “that some forms of deception increase trust” (p. 89). Yes, prosocial lying “can increase behavioral and attitudinal measures of interpersonal trust” (p. 89). As Smith (2017) elaborates prosocial lying further as “falsehoods told for someone else’s benefit, as opposed to “antisocial lies” that are told strictly for your own personal gain” (retrieved April 1st, 2017)

In the spirit of an experiment that Smith writes about in his article let’s summon Warneken and Orlins’ (2015) who investigated “whether children tell white lies simply out of politeness or as a means to improve another person’s mood”.

I’ve created two memes below. The first I think is pretty accurate but I don’t really like the second one because I think it’s too obvious. Which one do you like better?

Note: In participating in this experiment you hereby acknowledge that all ethical responsibility falls upon nobody  and that the result of your selection will likely appear publically.

Reluctant References

Levine, E. E., & Schweitzer, M. E. (2015). Prosocial lies: When deception breeds trust. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes126, 88-106.

Spottswood, E. L., & Hancock, J. T. (2016). The positivity bias and prosocial deception on facebook. Computers in Human Behavior65, 252-259.


Warneken, F., & Orlins, E. (2015). Children tell white lies to make others feel better. British Journal of Developmental Psychology33(3), 259-270.