Academic journal article International Journal of Communication Research

Exploring Facebook Users' Privacy Knowledge, Enactment and Attitude: A Study on Indian Youth

Academic journal article International Journal of Communication Research

Exploring Facebook Users' Privacy Knowledge, Enactment and Attitude: A Study on Indian Youth

Article excerpt

1. INTRODUCTION

Social networking sites have revolutionized the communication among people. It has changed the way how individuals interact with each other (Henson, Reyns, & Fisher, 2011). During recent years these sites have penetrated thorough out the world including developing nations. India has been one of the fastest growing countries in terms of social networking sites users. Social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and twitter has provided the people with a common platform to share their feelings, thoughts, ideas and opinions. Founded on February 4, 2004, Facebook has grown far to become the most popular social networking site in the world. While completing its 10 years in February 2014 it touched the figure of 1.23 billion monthly active users (Guardian, 2014). Students often adopt new communication technology first (Quan-Haase, 2007). With due credit to this obvious reason, no need to say that Facebook's users mostly come from youth population.

On Facebook, people indulge in various activities such as chatting, watching and uploading videos, photos, connecting with friends who are away from them and so on. They can join virtual communities and get in touch with strangers too. It has given a free mass platform to people for their self-expression. People get chance to talk about themselves to the world through this 'manyto many' communication medium. Through performing various activities people share a large amount of information on Facebook. Such information available on virtual space can be accessible to others. This information includes people's memories, family photos, photos with spouse, current location, their relationship status, education, contact details, date of birth, interests and some private moments of their life too. Sharing personal information on such platform might create risks of invasion of privacy and raises security issues which might lead to serious consequences like online interpersonal victimization, for example - harassment or sexual solicitation online (Henson, Reyns, & Fisher, 2011). Facebook has provided some privacy features on its site to insure its users' information gets secured. Some of such features are based on the type of information, for example - name, sex, contact details and birth date (Henson, Reyns, & Fisher, 2011). Whether people are aware of such issues and to what extent they exercise their right to privacy through these features on Facebook is a matter of concern. Rather than just an ethical issue, online privacy has gathered a worldwide attention as an 'international human rights' issue (Smith, Milberg, & Burke, 1996) and therefore is on the radar of communication researchers as well (Ellison, Steinfield, & Lampe, 2007). We claim this study as a first of its kind systematic attempt to divulge the privacy behavior of selected Indian Facebook users. We base this paper on the data from a pilot study conducted for a larger multicity study that is planned to discover the Facebook use by Indian youth in much broader context. This paper looks at Privacy from three aspects - enactment of privacy settings, knowledge of privacy settings and individual's attitude toward privacy issues.

2. LITERATURE REVIEW

Privacy is a well debated phenomenon among the scholars (Einspänner, 2013; Caers R., Feyter, Couck, Stough, Vigna, & Bois, 2013). Almost 18% of the research on Facebook is concerned with privacy and related issues (Wilson, Gosling, & Graham, 2012). Studies have been conducted worldwide to investigate to what extent people are aware about their privacy and security on social networking sites, for example - (Hinduja & Patchin, 2008; Hodge, 2007) and the political economy of the privacy (Fuchs, 2012). Most of these studies have looked at peoples' perceptions about privacy, their privacy behavior on social networking sites and their use of privacy settings.

3. PRIVACY

Privacy means the selective control of access to others that has physical, psychological, social, and informational dimensions (Li & Li, 2007). …

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