Date of Award


Document Type




First Advisor

Kristjen B. Lundberg


Social media posts signaling support for various social and racial justice movements have emerged as an important aspect of social media use. However, little research has investigated how these posts and the social media users behind them are perceived by members of disadvantaged groups﹘those the messages are presumably intended to “help.” Though the post’s content and poster’s identity are likely important, the primary aim of this study is to investigate an individual difference variable in the perceiver, specifically disadvantaged group members’ Suspicion of Motives Index (SOMI) scores, which measure a general tendency to perceive White individuals’ attempts at non-prejudice to be externally motivated. As predicted, participants of color with higher SOMI scores perceived White social media users who engage in online activism more negatively and reported less desire to affiliate with them (less positive feelings) than those with lower SOMI scores. Discussion focuses on the potential real-world implications for and of would-be allies engaging in online activism efforts.