Online Social Networks: Why We Disclose
Journal of Information Technology, 25 (2), pp. 109-125, DOI:10.1057/JIT.2010.6
28 Pages Posted: 4 May 2012
Date Written: 2010
On Online Social Networks such as Facebook, massive self-disclosure by users has attracted the attention of industry players and policymakers worldwide. Despite the impressive scope of this phenomenon, very little is understood about what motivates users to disclose personal information. Integrating focus group results into a theoretical privacy calculus framework, we develop and empirically test a Structural Equation Model of self-disclosure with 259 subjects. We find that users are primarily motivated to disclose information due to the convenience of maintaining and developing relationships and platform enjoyment. Countervailing these benefits, privacy risks represent a critical barrier to information disclosure. However, users’ perception of risk can be mitigated by their trust in the Network Provider and availability of control options. Based on these findings, we offer recommendations for Network Providers.
Keywords: Online Social Networks, Online Communities, Motivation, Privacy, Information Disclosure, Structural Equation Modeling
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