Internet Privacy Costs of User-Generated Content

By Weimer, Jason M. | Global Media Journal, Fall 2011 | Go to article overview

Internet Privacy Costs of User-Generated Content


Weimer, Jason M., Global Media Journal


Keywords

Internet, social networks, user generated content, privacy costs

Abstract

The growing universe of user-generated content (UGC) accessible through social media platforms is raising new questions about the role and nature of privacy in the modern media environment. While preliminary studies on UGC have concerned themselves with identifying potential consequences to individual privacy as a result of user-generated content production, relatively little is currently known about the types of privacy violations actually being experienced by UGC creators. This study supports previous research indicating an ever-increasing number of UGC producers. Findings of a survey conducted at a large Mid-western university indicated that UGC creation behaviors, at least among college students, is virtually ubiquitous. The findings support the conclusion that creators of UGC are willing to pay privacy costs such as unsolicited marketing communications, and unwanted advances from acquaintances for the gains in social capital made possible by creating personally identifiable UGC online. Analysis revealed that privacy violations are related to the extent of time individuals have been contributing UGC to social media platforms. Additionally, UGC creators perceive privacy violations experienced with greater regularity more severely than those experienced less frequently.

Introduction

Over the past fifteen years, traditional understandings of the roles occupied by audiences and producers of mass communications have been challenged in light of the Internet and advancements in information and communication technologies (ICTs) that increasingly allow users to create their own content online. Many have cited the variety of opportunities for audience interactivity in web based media and the growing universe of user-generated content (UGC) online as evidence of a fundamental alteration to the way messages are created and valued within societies across the globe (Acar 2008; Boyd and Ellison 2007; van Dijck 2009; Gonzales and Hancock 2008; Walther 1996).

As a consequence of the relatively recent rise in UGC, a great deal of concern is being expressed about the consequences to individual privacy in the new media landscape. Many of these perspectives paint UGC as potentially dangerous to its creators given risks for experiencing identity theft, job loss/rejection, or simply being embarrassed by content personally uploaded to online networks. Modern researchers are addressing these risks through exploring how creators of UGC perceive the risks and benefits of their behavior. While these investigations are important for generating understandings about the UGC phenomenon, this line of inquiry leaves a fundamental question pertaining to individuals' actual experience with different privacy violations as a result of creating personally identifiable UGC largely unexplored. Are UGC creators really sacrificing their personal lives in order to like each other's photographs, comment on each other's posts, and make connections with those of similar interests online?

Literature Review

Courtois, Mechant, De Marez, and Verleye (2009) defined UGC as "content made publically available on the Internet, reflecting a certain amount of creative effort. UGC is created outside of professional routines and practices and exists in different shapes and sizes" (p.111). The rapid rise in UGC entering the media landscape can be seen through the proliferation of social networking platforms, blog forums, and online dating sites (Debatin, Lovejoy, Horn, and Hughes 2009; Ellison, Heino, and Gibbs 2006; Leung 2009; Weisbuch Ivcevic and Ambady 2009). In only seven years, the social networking site Facebook has grown into a network consisting of over 750 million global users, half of which access the site everyday. The average Facebook user contributes 90 pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Internet Privacy Costs of User-Generated Content
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.