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Online communication self-disclosure and intimacy development on Facebook: the perspective of uses and gratifications theory

Yu-Hsun Lin (Business and Management, Ming Chi University of Technology, New Taipei City, Taiwan)
My Giang Chu (Faculty of Marketing, The University of Danang ‐ University of Economics, Da Nang, Vietnam)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Article publication date: 30 March 2021

Issue publication date: 14 October 2021




Motivating users to revisit a social networking site (SNS) by developing a long-term relationship with them is critical for SNS operators to enhance market control and competitiveness. By conceptualizing loyalty intention as an indicator of the long-term relationship, the present study, based on uses and gratification (U&G) theory, aims to explore the role played by online intimacy development with respect to loyalty intention when individuals have gained gratifications through using the SNS.


The study used a questionnaire measuring six types of Facebook gratifications as well as measuring self-disclosure breadth, self-disclosure depth, intimacy with Facebook, intimacy with Facebook friends and loyalty intention. Data, collected from the University of Economics in Vietnam, were analyzed using the partial least squares (PLS) approach.


The results support several findings: (1) the gratifications including entertainment, network extension, recognition and emotional support provided by Facebook may stimulate the users' intimacy with Facebook and/or Facebook users; (2) intimacy with Facebook and intimacy with Facebook friends facilitate users' loyalty intention; (3) having a sense of emotional support influences users to engage in self-disclosure with breadth and meaningful depth, thus leading them to develop a sense of intimacy with Facebook friends.


The study contributes to U&G research, intimacy theory and the SNS literature by offering an understanding of users' online communication self-disclosure and intimacy development, wherein the self-disclosure and intimacy stem from the users' gratifications via using specific SNS services and, in turn, create their loyalty intention toward that SNS.



This research was supported financially by the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), Taiwan, Grand number: MOST 104-2410-H-131-001-. The authors thank Taiwan MOST for funding this study.


Lin, Y.-H. and Chu, M.G. (2021), "Online communication self-disclosure and intimacy development on Facebook: the perspective of uses and gratifications theory", Online Information Review, Vol. 45 No. 6, pp. 1167-1187.



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