Luc-Chia-Shin Lin e-mail(Login required)

Main Article Content


Luc-Chia-Shin Lin e-mail(Login required)



In 2018, Taiwan held a referendum on same-sex marriage issues. Since it was the first time the public had an opportunity to make a decision on such issues, it became a battleground for conflicting ideologies, in which false messages were employed to influence voters. The current study focuses on the factors that might help people to stop the circulation of false messages. Social capital, political efficacy, and the theory of planned behavior have been integrated to develop a theoretical framework. The current study employs a 2x2 experimental design with partial least squares structural modelling to examine the hypotheses. The results demonstrated that people rarely follow rational routes to make voting decision on such issues. Voters are not concerned with the truthfulness of the messages but their stance. However, people might conceal their stance when facing weak ties of their social relations.


Same-sex marriage, referendum, social capital, political efficacy, Taiwan


Aharony, N. (2015). What’s App: a social capital perspective. Online Information Review, 39(1), 26-42.

Ajzen, I. (1991). The theory of planned behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50(2), 179-211.

Ajzen, I., Joyce, N., Sheikh, S. & Cote, N. G. (2011). Knowledge and the Prediction of Behavior: The Role of Information Accuracy in the Theory of Planned Behavior. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 33(2), 101-117.

Alexander, D. E. (2014). Social Media in Disaster Risk Reduction and Crisis Management. Science and Engineering Ethics, 20(3), 717-733.

Ansolabehere, S. & Iyengar, S. (1994). Riding the Wave and Claiming Ownership Over Issues: The Joint Effects of Advertising and News Coverage in Campaigns. Public Opinion Quarterly, 58(3), 335-357.

Binelli, A. (2018). Memory of the Rising and Futurology in the Same-Sex Marriage Referendum Debate. Studi Irlandesi: A Journal of Irish Studies, 8(8), 303-318. Retrieved from

Bourdieu, P. & Wacquant, L. (1992). An Invitation to Reflexive Sociology. Chicago, IL.: University of Chicago Press.

Burnett, C. M. (2019). Information and direct democracy: What voters learn about ballot measures and how it affects their votes. Electoral Studies, 57, 223-244.

Burnett, C. M. & McCubbins, M. D. (2014). Sex and the ballot box: perception of ballot measures regarding same-sex marriage and abortion in California. Journal of Public Policy, 34(1), 3-33.

Camarero, C. & San José, R. (2011). Social and attitudinal determinants of viral marketing dynamics. Computers in Human Behavior, 27(6), 2292-2300.

Campbell, A., Gurin, G. & Miller, W. E. (1954). The voter decides. Oxford, UK: Row, Peterson, and Co.

Campbell, M. C., Mohr, G. S. & Verlegh, P. W. J. (2013). Can disclosures lead consumers to resist covert persuasion? The important roles of disclosure timing and type of response. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 23(4), 483-495.

Castillo, C., Mendoza, M. & Poblete, B. (2013). Predicting information credibility in time-sensitive social media. Internet Research, 23(5), 560-588.

Central Election Commission, R. (2018). The results of 2018 Referendum.

Chen, M. H., Ko, N. Y., Huang, Y. T., Hu, H. F., Lu, W. H. & Yen, C. F. (2021). Poor mental health among Taiwanese people experiencing the public debates on and referendums for same-sex marriage: A Facebook online survey. J Formos Med Assoc, 120(4), 1069-1079.

Cheung, M. F. Y. & To, W. M. (2017). The influence of the propensity to trust on mobile users’ attitudes toward in-app advertisements: An extension of the theory of planned behavior. Computers in Human Behavior, 76, 102-111.

Craig, S. C., Niemi, R. G. & Silver, G. E. (1990). Political Efficacy and Trust: A Report on the NES Pilot Study Items. Political Behavior, 12(3), 289-314. Retrieved from

Fisher, S. F. (2017). Before the Wedding Dance: Citizen Policymaking on Same-Sex Marriage. California Journal of Politics and Policy, 9(3).

Flanagin, A. J. & Metzger, M. (2008). Digital Media and Youth: Unparalleled Opportunity and Unprecedented Responsibility. In M. J. Metzger & A. J. Flanagin (Eds.), Digital Media, Youth, and Credibility (Vol. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Fornell, C. & Larcker, D. F. (1981). Evaluating Structural Equation Models with Unobservable Variables and Measurement Error. Journal of Marketing Research, 18(1), 39-50.

Gan, C. & Wang, W. (2015). Uses and gratifications of social media: a comparison of microblog and WeChat. Journal of Systems and Information Technology, 17(4), 351-363.

Gross, J. H. & Johnson, K. T. (2016). Twitter Taunts and Tirades: Negative Campaigning in the Age of Trump. PS: Political Science and Politics, 49(4), 748-754.

Hair, J. F., Hult, G. T. M., Ringle, C. & Sarstedt, M. (2017). A primer on partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) (2nd Edition). Los Angeles, CA: Sage.

Han, H. (2015). Travelers’ pro-environmental behavior in a green lodging context: Converging value-belief-norm theory and the theory of planned behavior. Tourism Management, 47, 164-177.

Kimmel, M. (1999). A proposal to strengthen the right of response to negative campaign commercials. Catholic University Law Review, 49(1), pp.

Ko, N. Y., Lin, I. H., Huang, Y. T., Chen, M. H., Lu, W. H. & Yen, C. F. (2020). Associations of Perceived Socially Unfavorable Attitudes toward Homosexuality and Same-Sex Marriage with Suicidal Ideation in Taiwanese People before and after Same-Sex Marriage Referendums. Int J Environ Res Public Health, 17(3) .

Lee, T. (2019). The global rise of “fake news” and the threat to democratic elections in the USA. Public Administration and Policy, 22(1), 15-24.

Lin, H. C., Chen, Y. L., Ko, N. Y., Chang, Y. P., Lu, W. H. & Yen, C. F. (2021). Perception of Attitudes of the General Population toward Homosexuality in Taiwan: Roles of Demographic Factors, Mental Health, and Social Debates on Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage. Int J Environ Res Public Health, 18(5) .

Lutzke, L., Drummond, C., Slovic, P. & Árvai, J. (2019). Priming critical thinking: Simple interventions limit the influence of fake news about climate change on Facebook. Global Environmental Change, 58, 101964.

Marks, E., Manning, M. & Ajzen, I. (2012). The Impact of Negative Campaign Ads. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 42(5), 1280-1292.

Martin, P. S. (2004). Inside the Black Box of Negative Campaign Effects: Three Reasons Why Negative Campaigns Mobilize. Political Psychology, 25(4), 545-562.

Mayer, W. G. (1996). In Defense of Negative Campaigning. Political Science Quarterly, 111(3), 437-455.

Min, Y. (2004). News Coverage of Negative Political Campaigns: An Experiment of Negative Campaign Effects on Turnout and Candidate Preference. The Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics, 9(4), 95-111.

Momoc, A. (2010). Online Negative Campaign in the 2004 Romanian Presidential Elections. Styles of Communication, 2(1), 89.

Munzel, A. (2016). Assisting consumers in detecting fake reviews: The role of identity information disclosure and consensus. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 32(Suppl. C), 96-108.

O’Connor, C. (2017). ‘Appeals to nature’ in marriage equality debates: A content analysis of newspaper and social media discourse. British Journal of Social Psychology, 56(3), 493-514.

Putnam, R. D. (2000). Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

Quinn, K. (2016). Why We Share: A Uses and Gratifications Approach to Privacy Regulation in Social Media Use. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 60(1), 61-86.

Reichert, F. (2016). How Internal Political Efficacy Translates Political Knowledge Into Political Participation. Europe’s Journal of Psychology, 12(2), 221-241.

Simon, C. A., Matland, R. E., Wendell, D. G. & Tatalovich, R. (2018). Voting Turnout and Referendum Outcomes on Same-Sex Marriage, 1998–2015*. Social Science Quarterly, 99(4), 1522-1534.

Sánchez-Moya, A. & Cruz-Moya, O. (2015). “Hey there! I am using WhatsApp”: A Preliminary Study of Recurrent Discursive Realisations in a Corpus of WhatsApp Statuses. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 212, 52-60.

Sullivan, J. & Sapir, E. (2012). Nasty or Nice? Explaining Positive and Negative Campaign Behavior in Taiwan. The China Journal, 67, 149-170.

Surlin, S. H. & Gordon, T. F. (1977). How Values Affect Attitudes Toward Direct Reference Political Advertising. Journalism Quarterly, 54(1), 89-98.

Syn, S. Y. & Oh, S. (2015). Why do social network site users share information on Facebook and Twitter? Journal of Information Science, 41(5), 553-569.

Tanaka, Y., Sakamoto, Y. & Matsuka, T. (2013). Toward a Social-Technological System that Inactivates False Rumors through the Critical Thinking of Crowds. Paper presented at the 2013 46th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences(HICSS), Wailea, Maui, HI USA.

Taneja, A., Vitrano, J. & Gengo, N. J. (2014). Rationality-based beliefs affecting individual’s attitude and intention to use privacy controls on Facebook: An empirical investigation. Computers in Human Behavior, 38, 159–173.

Tripathy, R. M., Bagchi, A. & Mehta, S. (2010, October 26-30, 2010). A study of rumor control strategies on social networks. Paper presented at the 19th ACM Conference on Information and Knowledge Management, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Walter, A. S. (2014). Negative Campaigning in Western Europe: Similar or Different? Political Studies, 62(S1), 42-60.

Wang, C.-H., Lin, T.-j., Weng, D. L.-C. & Chang, Y.-B. (2020). Personality Traits and Individual Attitudes Toward Same-Sex Marriage: Evidence from Taiwan. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 17(3), 524-540.

Wang, P.-H. (2020). Stance, framing, and the construction of reality in Facebook comments about Taiwan’s same-sex marriage bills. Discourse & Society, 31(2), 218-234.

Wang, Y. C., Chang, S. R. & Miao, N. F. (2022). Suicide attempts among Taiwanese lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender adults during the 2018 Taiwan referendum on same-sex issues. J Nurs Scholarsh, 54(3), 388-395.

Wetzels, M., Odekerken-Schroder, G. & van Oppen, C. (2009). Using PLS Path Modeling for Assessing Hierarchical Construct Models: Guidelines and Empirical Illustration. MIS Quarterly, 33(1), 177-195. Retrieved from

Williams, D. (2006). On and Off the ‘Net: Scales for Social Capital in an Online Era. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 11(2), 593-628.

Wu, H. D. & Dahmen, N. S. (2010). Web Sponsorship and Campaign Effects: Assessing the Difference Between Positive and Negative Web Sites. Journal of Political Marketing, 9(4), 314-329.

Wu, T.-Y. (2021). Proactive Opinion Expression Avoidance about Same-Sex Marriage on Social Media: Acceptance, Reactance, and Self-Censorship. Mass Communication and Society, 24(6), 918-942.

Zhang, K. Z. K., Zhao, S. J., Cheung, C. M. K. & Lee, M. K. O. (2014). Examining the influence of online reviews on consumers’ decision-making: A heuristic–systematic model. Decision Support Systems, 67, 78-89.

Zhao, L., Yin, J. & Song, Y. (2016). An exploration of rumor combating behavior on social media in the context of social crises. Computers in Human Behavior, 58(Suppl. C), 25-36.

Zhao, X., Tang, Q., Liu, S. & Liu, F. (2016). Social capital, motivations, and mobile coupon sharing. Industrial Management & Data Systems, 116(1), 188-206.


Search GoogleScholar


Article Details