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Web Survey Bibliography

Title Resolving the Privacy Paradox? - How Privacy Concerns, Strategic Self-presentation, and Norms Influence the Choice of Privacy Settings
Author Utz, S.
Year 2009
Access date 14.08.2009

Users of social network sites (SNS) often disclose a great amount of personal and intimate information on their profiles whilst at the same time stating to be concerned with their privacy. This phenomenon has been called privacy paradox and received attention from researchers as well as the media; SNS have reacted and offer now more fine-grained privacy settings. Thus, it is time to revisit the privacy paradox and examine which factors predict choices for certain privacy settings. SNS users have to find a balance between two conflicting motives - privacy protection and self-presentation. After all, the main purpose of SNS is to maintain strong and weak ties, which involves creating a profile and keeping people updated about one's life.

The first study focused on these conflicting motives, but looked also at the role of dispositional trust and narcissism. An online survey was held among 144 users of Hyves, the largest Dutch social network site. The results showed that active SNS users meanwhile protect their profiles. Almost 75% had changed the default privacy settings, mostly into more restrictive privacy settings. Although dispositional trust and narcissism were related to privacy concerns and use of the Internet for strategic self-presentation, the two Internet-specific attitudes were the best predictors of actual privacy settings.

Study 2 examined also the role of social norms. Users might also choose more protective privacy settings because many other users do so. University students (n = 70) were used as subjects in order to reach also less active Hyvers. Again, the majority had changed their privacy settings, indicating that the privacy paradox becomes smaller. Perceived norm turned out to be a strong predictor of privacy settings.

Thus, across two studies it was found that SNS users are not only concerned about their privacy, but that these privacy concerns translate into action. This challenges earlier studies reporting a privacy paradox. Internet-specific attitudes were better predictors than general personality characteristics. Moreover, social norms played an important role, stressing the importance of social influence processes in SNS. Practical implications will be discussed.

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Year of publication2009
Bibliographic typeConferences, workshops, tutorials, presentations
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Web survey bibliography - General Online Research Conference (GOR) 2009 (54)

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