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Sonja Utz, Felix Otto, and Tim Pawlowski

Using social media for crisis communication has been proposed as an effective strategy because it allows teams to build parasocial relationships with fans. The authors focused on the early elimination of Germany during the 2018 Fédération Internationale de Football Association World Cup to examine the effects of (crisis) communication on Facebook. The authors compared the Facebook posts of the German team, captain Manuel Neuer, and team member Thomas Müller and examined the emoji reactions each received. Although Neuer posted text identical to that of the team, his post received a smaller proportion of angry emoji reactions. Müller received fewer angry reactions than the team, but more than Neuer. The authors also used data from a two-wave panel to study changes in evaluation and parasocial relationships and perceived authenticity as potential mediators. Only the team was evaluated more negatively after the elimination than before. Parasocial relationships mediated the effect of exposure to social media posts on evaluation.