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
Date Written: August 13, 2014
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: Suggested Citation