Academic journal article Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research

An Empirical Investigation of Factors That Influence Individual Behavior toward Changing Social Networking Security Settings

Academic journal article Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research

An Empirical Investigation of Factors That Influence Individual Behavior toward Changing Social Networking Security Settings

Article excerpt

1 Introduction

Social networking continues to grow at a phenomenal rate today. In fact, the growth rate is quite astounding. For example, Facebook, founded in February 2004, reported over 1.44 billion monthly active users as of May 2015 [21]. Twitter, created in March 2006 [12], reached 500 million accounts in June 2012 [47], and has 302 million monthly active users [53]. LinkedIn, which began in 2002, has over 364 million registered members [38]. While these statistics are impressive, it does not keep new entrants away. Platforms such as Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr and Vimeo are changing how social networking is done while stalwarts such as MySpace are reinventing themselves in an attempt to remain competitive.

Unfortunately, security remains an issue, and all social networking users face security threats. These risks range from unexpected privacy violations to worms and viruses. In addition, concerns with privacy have been linked to social media fatigue [9]. Fortunately, most social networking sites allow users to adjust security and privacy settings to help avoid these threats. Unfortunately, many users fail to make these adjustments. A recent study notes that many users do post private (risky) information [54]. This study will examine individual alteration of social networking security settings (without regard to the direction or correctness of those alterations) utilizing a theoretical model of human behavior. Figure 1 shows the research model.

The structural model above contains latent variables or constructs (circles) and paths (arrows). Paths show relationships between latent variables. Latent variables are ideas that cannot be measured directly [16]. Manifest or Observable variables (not shown above) serve as measures that represent latent constructs. The model has two types of latent variables, namely endogenous and exogenous. Exogenous variables do not have paths or arrows pointing at them. On the other hands, endogenous variables have paths pointing toward them [32].

The next section of this paper discusses the relevant literature. It is followed by the research hypotheses section. The subsequent section examines the methodology used for the study. The results of the study are then presented followed by a discussion of the findings. The paper concludes with sections that discuss limitations and future research, implications for practice and conclusion.

2 Literature Review

In addressing the literature, we examine multiple research streams that are associated with this study. We first take a broad look at the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB). From there we take a more focused look at TPB and how it specifically applies to information systems misuse. Finally, we examine the literature related to Apathy and Social Trust.

2.1 Theory of Planned Behavior

The Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) suggests that human behavior can be explained and predicted within specific contexts based upon individual intention to commit behavior, along with individual perceptions of personal control over performing that behavior [1]-[2], [19], [42], [44]. The TPB suggests that behavior is a function of beliefs or information relevant to the specified behavior. Although individuals may have multiple beliefs, only a few salient beliefs can be dealt with at any given time. These beliefs are thus the primary determinants of intentions and actions [4], [19]. These beliefs link the specified behavior with the outcomes generated by performing that behavior, as well as with any potential costs generated by performing the behavior [4], [19].

2.1.1 Intentions

Intentions, which indicate the amount of effort individuals are willing to exert to perform a given behavior [2], "are assumed to capture the motivational factors that influence a behavior" [8] p. 286. Intentions are formed from three factors: Attitude toward the Behavior, Subjective Norms, and Perceived Behavioral Control [1].

2. …

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