Couldn't or Wouldn't? the Influence of Privacy Concerns and Self-Efficacy in Privacy Management on Privacy Protection
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Sampling 515 college students, this study investigates how privacy protection, including profile visibility, self-disclosure, and friending, are influenced by privacy concerns and efficacy regarding one's own ability to manage privacy settings, a factor that researchers have yet to give a great deal of attention to in the context of social networking sites (SNSs). The results of this study indicate an inconsistency in adopting strategies to protect privacy, a disconnect from limiting profile visibility and friending to self-disclosure. More specifically, privacy concerns lead SNS users to limit their profile visibility and discourage them from expanding their network. However, they do not constrain self-disclosure. Similarly, while self-efficacy in privacy management encourages SNS users to limit their profile visibility, it facilitates self-disclosure. This suggests that if users are limiting their profile visibility and constraining their friending behaviors, it does not necessarily mean they will reduce self-disclosure on SNSs because these behaviors are predicted by different factors. In addition, the study finds an interaction effect between privacy concerns and self-efficacy in privacy management on friending. It points to the potential problem of increased risk-taking behaviors resulting from high self-efficacy in privacy management and low privacy concerns.