Computer-mediated communication (CMC) is sometimes heralded for its power to break down social boundaries and to liberate individuals from social influence, group pressure, and status and power differentials that characterize much face-to-face interaction. This paper reviews research conducted within the framework of the social identity model of deindividuation effects demonstrating that this is not always the case. When communicators share a common social identity, they appear to be more susceptible to group influence, social attraction, stereotyping, gender typing, and discrimination in anonymous CMC. Although CMC gives us the opportunity to traverse social boundaries, paradoxically, it can also afford these boundaries greater power, especially when they define self- and group identity.
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