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11 - IDIS(2009 2:3963 DOI 10.1007/s12394-009-0019-1 Privacy...

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Privacy concerns and identity in online social networks Hanna Krasnova & Oliver Günther & Sarah Spiekermann & Ksenia Koroleva Received: 18 November 2008 /Accepted: 9 July 2009 /Published online: 1 October 2009 # Identity Journal Limited 2009 Abstract Driven by privacy-related fears, users of Online Social Networks may start to reduce their network activities. This trend can have a negative impact on network sustainability and its business value. Nevertheless, very little is understood about the privacy-related concerns of users and the impact of those concerns on identity performance. To close this gap, we take a systematic view of user privacy concerns on such platforms. Based on insights from focus groups and an empirical study with 210 subjects, we find that (i) Organizational Threats and (ii) Social Threats stemming from the user environment constitute two underlying dimensions of the construct Privacy Concerns in Online Social Networks . Using a Structural Equation Model, we examine the impact of the identified dimensions of concern on the Amount, Honesty, and Conscious Control of individual self-disclosure on these sites. We find that users tend to reduce the Amount of information disclosed as a response to their concerns regarding Organizational Threats. Additionally, users become more conscious about the information they reveal as a result of Social Threats. Network providers may want to develop specific mechanisms to alleviate identified user concerns and thereby ensure network sustainability. Keywords Online social networks . Privacy concerns . Measures . Identity . Structural equation modeling IDIS (2009) 2:39 63 DOI 10.1007/s12394-009-0019-1 H. Krasnova ( * ) : O. Günther : S. Spiekermann : K. Koroleva Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany e-mail: [email protected] S. Spiekermann European Business School, Schloss Reichartshausen, Oestrich-Winkel, Berlin, Germany
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Abbreviations AVE Average Variance Extracted CFA Confirmatory Factor Analysis EFA Exploratory Factor Analysis FGQ Focus Group Quotation HR Human Resources MM Measurement Model OSN Online Social Network PCOSN User Privacy Concerns on OSNs construct SD Standard Deviation SEM Structural Equation Model SM Structural Model Introduction Online Social Networks (OSNs) such as Facebook or StudiVZ have evolved into popular Web places where users communicate and share updates with friends. This facilitated exchange of information helps create social capital by bringing individuals closer together and maintaining existing relationships (Ellison et al. 2007 ). However, media-driven user privacy concerns might damage the self- sustainability of OSNs and ultimately ruin their public value. Motivated by these developments, this study identifies user privacy concerns specific to OSNs and explores their impact on self-disclosure dynamics.
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