The privacy paradox on social network sites revisited: The role of individual characteristics and group norms

Utz, Sonja; Krämer, Nicole
December 2009
Cyberpsychology;2009, Vol. 3 Issue 2, p1
Academic Journal
Users of social network sites (SNS) often state that they are concerned about their privacy, yet they often disclose detailed personal information on their profiles. This paper assessed the privacy settings of users of two large European SNS. More importantly, it also examined which factors predict the choice of specific privacy settings. The main focus was on the trade-off between privacy concerns and impression management. The paper also looked at the role of the dispositional variables trust and narcissism. These individual factors were contrasted with the effects of perceived group norms. Across three studies it was found that the vast majority of users protected at least certain parts of their profile (e.g., pictures, email address). Moreover, higher protection of profiles was consistently predicted by greater privacy concerns. Impression management motives and narcissism led to less restrictive privacy settings, but these results were less consistent across studies. Perceived social norms played a role in both SNS, whereas dispositional trust had no effect.


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