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Privacy and Information Sharing on Social Networking Sites

Mejstad, Tobias LU and Leonardi Liong, Edwin (2010) INFM02 20101
Department of Informatics
Abstract
Social networking sites are becoming more and more widely used, increasing their importance as vehicles for communication and collaboration. Due to this, a significant amount of information is shared on these sites, with considerable potential implications for the area of personal privacy. There have been reports that the users of these sites do not understand the potential harms of information-sharing. In our study, we examine individuals’ perceptions of privacy as they relate to these sites as well as how these perceptions differ between genders, age groups and geographical backgrounds.

Using quantitative methods by surveying 240 individuals we find that they are, indeed, highly concerned about their privacy, both on the Internet and... (More)
Social networking sites are becoming more and more widely used, increasing their importance as vehicles for communication and collaboration. Due to this, a significant amount of information is shared on these sites, with considerable potential implications for the area of personal privacy. There have been reports that the users of these sites do not understand the potential harms of information-sharing. In our study, we examine individuals’ perceptions of privacy as they relate to these sites as well as how these perceptions differ between genders, age groups and geographical backgrounds.

Using quantitative methods by surveying 240 individuals we find that they are, indeed, highly concerned about their privacy, both on the Internet and on SNS. Furthermore, even if they share a significant amount of information on these sites, they are both aware of and make use of the privacy settings available to them. However, we find that the terms and agreements and privacy policies pertaining to these sites are not important factors influencing the decision of whether or not to get involved in them. Our findings make us conclude that individuals are performing cost and benefit analyses related to their level of participation and information-sharing, in line with the social exchange theory.

Our study also confirms that the phenomenon of information disclosure on SNS is to some extent associated with the user’s gender and age, as has been suggested in previous studies. However, we find differences concerning the specific characteristics of privacy awareness and privacy protection on SNS as compared to previous studies. Finally, we examine these areas with respect to geographical backgrounds, and discover differences not previously reported. (Less)
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author
Mejstad, Tobias LU and Leonardi Liong, Edwin
supervisor
organization
course
INFM02 20101
year
type
H1 - Master's Degree (One Year)
subject
keywords
social exchange theory, social networking sites, privacy, gender, information sharing, quantitative, geographical background, age
report number
INF10-028
language
English
id
1627524
date added to LUP
2010-08-25 13:00:43
date last changed
2010-08-25 13:00:43
@misc{1627524,
  abstract     = {Social networking sites are becoming more and more widely used, increasing their importance as vehicles for communication and collaboration. Due to this, a significant amount of information is shared on these sites, with considerable potential implications for the area of personal privacy. There have been reports that the users of these sites do not understand the potential harms of information-sharing. In our study, we examine individuals’ perceptions of privacy as they relate to these sites as well as how these perceptions differ between genders, age groups and geographical backgrounds.

Using quantitative methods by surveying 240 individuals we find that they are, indeed, highly concerned about their privacy, both on the Internet and on SNS. Furthermore, even if they share a significant amount of information on these sites, they are both aware of and make use of the privacy settings available to them. However, we find that the terms and agreements and privacy policies pertaining to these sites are not important factors influencing the decision of whether or not to get involved in them. Our findings make us conclude that individuals are performing cost and benefit analyses related to their level of participation and information-sharing, in line with the social exchange theory.

Our study also confirms that the phenomenon of information disclosure on SNS is to some extent associated with the user’s gender and age, as has been suggested in previous studies. However, we find differences concerning the specific characteristics of privacy awareness and privacy protection on SNS as compared to previous studies. Finally, we examine these areas with respect to geographical backgrounds, and discover differences not previously reported.},
  author       = {Mejstad, Tobias and Leonardi Liong, Edwin},
  keyword      = {social exchange theory,social networking sites,privacy,gender,information sharing,quantitative,geographical background,age},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Privacy and Information Sharing on Social Networking Sites},
  year         = {2010},
}