The impact of users’ awareness and self-efficacy of control options on disclosure intention in online social networks

by Ting Li

Institution: University of British Columbia
Year: 2015
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2069413
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/54600


Online social networks (OSN) such as Facebook have changed people’s communication patterns. Along with new OSN feature development, control options in OSNs have accumulated in an unprecedented speed, yet the impact of the awareness of the abundance of control features has not been fully studied. This study addresses this research gap by proposing and validating a theoretical model that explains how awareness and two specific awareness-influencing constructs, namely perceived self-efficacy and perceived usefulness of control options, jointly affect OSN users’ personalization-enabled privacy controls and their disclosure intention in the OSN environments (e.g. posting intention). Data was collected from 297 active Facebook users through an online survey, and the research model was tested using structural equation modeling (SEM). It was found that 1) OSN users only possess a medium level of awareness of available control options; 2) the impact of awareness of control options on privacy control is fully mediated by individuals’ self-efficacy; 3) both self-efficacy and perceived usefulness of control options are positively associated with OSN users’ perceived control over their privacy; 4) function tutorial of control options alone is effective in improving OSN users’ awareness, self-efficacy and PU of the control features, while the presence of warning messages lead to no further privacy control improvement but have a mitigating impact on individuals’ disclosure intention; and 5) ‘too much’ awareness of control options will exert a negative influence on OSN users’ disclosure intention through constructs (e.g. perceived risk) other than privacy control. Theoretical and practical implications of this study are discussed at the end of the thesis.