A New Privacy Paradox: Young People and Privacy on Social Network Sites

Prepared for the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, 17 August 2014, San Francisco, California.

34 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2014  

Grant Blank

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute

Gillian Bolsover

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute

Elizabeth Dubois

University of Ottawa

Date Written: August 13, 2014

Abstract

There is a widespread impression that younger people are less concerned with privacy than older people. For example, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg justified changing default privacy settings to allow everyone to see and search for names, gender, city and other information by saying “Privacy is no longer a social norm”. We address this question and test it using a representative sample from Britain based on the Oxford Internet Survey (OxIS). Contrary to conventional wisdom, OxIS shows a negative relationship between age and privacy; young people are actually more likely to have taken action to protect their privacy than older people. Privacy online is a strong social norm. We develop a sociological theory of privacy that accounts for the fact of youth concern. The new privacy paradox is that these sites have become so embedded in the social lives of users that they must disclose information on them despite the fact that these sites do not provide adequate privacy controls.

Keywords: privacy, social network sites, social media, facebook, young people, social circles, Oxford Internet Survey

JEL Classification: D82,C42, H42

Suggested Citation

Blank, Grant and Bolsover, Gillian and Dubois, Elizabeth, A New Privacy Paradox: Young People and Privacy on Social Network Sites (August 13, 2014). Prepared for the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, 17 August 2014, San Francisco, California.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2479938 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2479938

Grant Blank (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute ( email )

1 St. Giles
University of Oxford
Oxford OX1 3PG Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire OX1 3JS
United Kingdom

Gillian Bolsover

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute ( email )

1 St. Giles
University of Oxford
Oxford OX1 3PG Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire OX1 3JS
United Kingdom

Elizabeth Dubois

University of Ottawa ( email )

70 Laurier East
Room 529
Ottawa, ONTARIO K1N 6N5
Canada

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