Title: Examining privacy settings on online social networks: a protection motivation perspective

Authors: Tziporah Stern; Nanda Kumar

Addresses: Kingsough Community College, City University of New York, 2001 Oriental Boulevard, Brooklyn, NY 11235, USA ' Baruch College, City University of New York, One Bernard Baruch Way, New York, NY 10010, USA

Abstract: The easy accessibility of information on online social networks (OSN) such as Facebook, has boosted the significance of 'privacy settings' as a frontline of defence against information misuse. In this study a model is built based on the intersection of protection motivation theory (PMT), social exchange theory (SET), and privacy risk research to examine behaviour through both the use of privacy settings (adaptive/desirable behaviour) and the non-use of privacy settings (measuring maladaptive coping response). To validate the model a survey is conducted. Strong support was found for the mediating role played by PMT variables-cost, benefits, risk, and efficacy - on both maladaptive coping and adaptive behaviour. This research successfully applies PMT in the information privacy context and operationalises adaptive behaviour in a unique, but thus far unexplored, manner. It also identifies important risk antecedents to the PMT model which help further explain privacy on OSN.

Keywords: Facebook; information privacy; information sharing; OSN; online social networks; privacy settings; PMT; protection motivation theory; SET; social exchange theory; privacy preservation; privacy protection; information security.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEB.2017.083327

International Journal of Electronic Business, 2017 Vol.13 No.2/3, pp.244 - 272

Received: 19 Feb 2016
Accepted: 11 Dec 2016

Published online: 15 Mar 2017 *

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