The Dark Side of User Participation - The Effect of Calls to Action on Trust and Information Revelation
29 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2016 Last revised: 10 Sep 2021
Date Written: July 27, 2016
Many content websites seek to encourage user participation, which has been shown to increase user satisfaction and propensity to contribute. Yet this study shows that such encouragement can cause users to expose themselves to potentially harmful consequences, by enhancing their trust in the website and leading them to be more willing to reveal personal information. We perform a series of empirical experiments, utilizing a website called VideoBook, a YouTube-like video browsing platform that provides the opportunity to study users’ behaviors and perceptions in a realistic environment and under lab conditions. We find that users who are exposed to prompts that require them to engage with the website (rate videos) subsequently report higher trust in the site and reveal more personal information, compared with users who are not exposed to such prompts. Exposure to prompts does not affect users’ general attitudes regarding privacy. We test alternative scenarios to attempt to identify the sources of the phenomena, and we link our results to previous work on website-initiated participation and self-perception theory. We discuss both theoretical and policy implications.
Keywords: Information Privacy, User participation, Information revelation, Trust
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