Mitigating the Privacy Paradox Through Higher Privacy Literacy? Insights from a Lab Experiment Based on Facebook Data
28 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2022
Date Written: October 9, 2022
The existence of the privacy paradox, understood as the contrast between people’s privacy concerns and their actual behavior, has been extensively documented. However, possible reasons for its existence have rarely been tested empirically. In this study, we investigate whether the privacy paradox exists for Facebook users and whether an increase in privacy literacy could mitigate the paradox. We carried out a laboratory experiment with 207 student participants. The participants were asked to download their entire Facebook data package, so that the amount of data on their profile could be measured, and to fill out a survey. In line with the literature, we found that for Facebook users, high levels of privacy concerns are not associated with a more parsimonious use of the social network site. Instead, what appears to drive a more privacy-protective behavior on Facebook is holding high levels of both privacy concerns and privacy literacy. This study provides evidence for the importance of high levels of privacy literacy in reducing the discrepancy between privacy concerns and privacy behavior. The paper thus speaks in favor of privacy education as a key factor in reconciling people’s privacy preferences and their actions.
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