Assessing interpersonal privacy through the usage of Facebook features by university students.
Shaik, Fatima Bibi.
MetadataShow full item record
With online social networks swiftly growing in popularity millions of users are sharing their personal information daily without being aware of where such disseminated information eventually resides. Combined with such growth is the diversity of both users and content shared, that results in an extensive amount of personal data availed in social networks. This poses a challenge to individuals in terms of knowing what content is available: when and where, as well as the subsequent flow of that information. One such social network which has impacted modern day communication and altered the nature of digital information sharing is Facebook: Used by over one billion people world-wide, Facebook users interact with friends, family and other social contacts in a public medium. This has changed the nature of privacy and consequences of information disclosures. Despite media reports highlighting the unintended consequences of information disclosures via social network sites such as Facebook, students are often thought to be unconcerned regarding the subsequent costs of these disclosures. The current study sought to explore university student’s informational disclosures influence on their interpersonal privacy through the usage of the Friendship Pages and Timeline Facebook features. Participants of this study were 333 university students who were current users of Facebook. A significant 41.7% of the respondents revealed they used both the Friendship Page and Timeline feature of Facebook. Findings further revealed that students used Facebook for several functions. These functions include; to search for friends by disclosing their personal information such as pictures, searching for events or groups, uploading and sharing their own images, which can be accessed by friends of friends, therefore causing potential privacy concerns. Results also revealed that students had a polarized attitude towards sharing their details. Furthermore, analysis revealed that students had comprehensive profiles and they shared information that represented the reality about themselves, therefore, making it easier for strangers to understand who they are. Investigations also indicated that privacy is not a primary concern for university students based on the kind of activities and interactions gained in its usage. Results from the research indicate that a significant number of students use Facebook Friendship page to find new friends with potentially risky disclosure of personal information through the use of profile pictures that are visible to everyone. Results for the Timeline feature revealed students who adjusted their timeline settings were selective of whom has access to their uploaded content based on the different type of Facebook friends they have. In addition, the study revealed that there was a strong and positive relationship between the Friendship Page and the Timeline to the extent that individuals that are accepted as friends also gain access to the content shared on each other's timeline. There was also minimal trust found between friends on the usage of Facebook content since a significant number of respondents revealed that they could not trust their friends not to share their content with other people. Despite the negative relationship, students continued to share their private information, therefore, revealing a relaxed attitude. Additionally, many respondents felt uneasy with increased viewership and sharing of their content by people not within their friendship network which illustrates a polarized attitude.