Privacy in Interaction: Exploring Disclosure and Social Capital in Facebook

author: Nicole B. Ellison, School of Information, University of Michigan
published: July 6, 2012,   recorded: June 2012,   views: 2684


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In this paper, we explore the relationship between Facebook users’ privacy concerns, relationship maintenance strategies, and social capital outcomes. Previous research has found a positive relationship between various measures of Facebook use and perceptions of social capital, i.e., one’s access to social and information-based resources. Other research has found that social network site users with high privacy concerns modify their disclosures on the site. However, no research to date has empirically tested how privacy concerns and disclosure strategies interact to influence social capital outcomes. To address this gap in the literature, we explored these questions with survey data (N=230). Findings indicate that privacy concerns and behaviors predict disclosures on Facebook, but not perceptions of social capital. In addition, when looking at predictors of social capital, we identify interaction effects between users’ network composition and their use of privacy features.

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