Interdependent Privacy

Sharing on online social networks (OSNs) has rapidly emerged as a global phenomenon. Information that users share about one another has great impacts on impression formation, but also poses risks to the privacy of both users and non-users. Particularly, information disclosed by others (other-generated disclosure) is less deceptive and more credible than self-disclosure, challenges one’s desired self-presentation as well as self-image, and can cause face threats. So far, privacy literature on OSNs has focused on self-disclosure, and little attention has been paid to other-generated disclosure. Given this growing and increasingly important phenomenon, this present study explores other-generated disclosures, based on the lived experiences of adult Facebook users, to fill this gap. Using an online survey, results shows that Facebook users are likely to be exposed to other-generated disclosure not only through tags and photos but also posts and comments.  Posts and comments are increasingly problematic. Not only will this study be useful for service providers in designing new features and improving privacy controls, but it also benefits organisations who take advantage of viral marketing and electronic word of mouth (eWOM), but in ways that seek to preserve the privacy of individuals.  Furthermore, this study increases users’ privacy awareness and promotes meaningful online privacy practices to preserve not only privacy of individuals, but also privacy of engaging parties, due to the domino effect of interdependent privacy.


Tharntip Tawnie Chutikulrungsee, Charles Sturt University

Oliver Kisalay Burmeiste, Charles Sturt University

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