#CancelCulture: Examining definitions and motivations

Edson C. Tandoc, Beverly Tan Hui Ru, Gabrielle Lee Huei, Ng Min Qi Charlyn, Rachel Angeline Chua, Zhang Hao Goh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


While cancel culture has become a social media buzzword, scholarly understanding of this phenomenon is still at its nascent stage. To contribute to a more nuanced understanding of cancel culture, this study uses a sequential exploratory mixed-methods approach by starting with in-depth interviews with social media users (n = 20) followed by a national online survey (n = 786) in Singapore. Through the interviews, we found that our participants understand cancel culture as more than just a mob engaged in public shaming on social media; it also involves perceptions of power imbalance and social justice. Building on these perspectives from our interviews, we tested the framework of theory of planned behavior in predicting intention to engage in cancel culture and expanded it by examining the effects of people’s belief in a just world using an online national survey in Singapore. The analysis showed that attitude, subjective norms and perceived behavioral control were positively related to intention to engage in cancel culture, while general belief in a just world was a negative predictor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1944-1962
Number of pages19
JournalNew Media and Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

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  • Cancel culture
  • Instagram
  • influencer
  • online shaming
  • social media


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