The Effect of Engagement on Private Information

Naama Tzur; Lior Zalmanson; Gal Oestreicher-Singer

In this research, we are interested in the dynamic of information disclosure on social media websites. Why do users provide personal information on some website and not on others? What builds up trust at the initial meeting point between a potential user and a website or an application? How does online engagement influence this dynamic?

In accordance with Information Boundary Theory, we propose to examine a trust building dynamics as the following hypotheses outlines:

H1: Website initiated participation influences individual’s perceptions of the website.

H2: Individual’s perceptions of a website influences individual’s information disclosure.

H3: Website initiated participation influences individual’s information disclosure.

Our methodology is a random assignment experiment. Using an online website (“VideoBook”) that was designed for and described in Zalmanson & Oestreicher-Singer (2014), we propose to examine these three main hypotheses. Through a series of experiment, we aim to isolate and better understand the impact of online engagement on information disclosure.

Participants are recruited mostly via Amazon’s “Mechanical Turk”. We ask each of the participants to browse VideoBook while presenting her with pop up notifications that vary in type and amount. At the end of the session the participants are requested to answer a questionnaire and provide personal information. We are able to compare the activity log of different participant and the associated answers and information disclosure level. This enables us to analyze the relation between online behavior and personal perceptions.

So far, we have examined the impact of online engagement on trust, privacy concerns and willingness to disclose information. We have found significant differences in the behavior of individuals who were presented with pop up notification in comparison to those who weren’t in terms of trust and information disclosure, while no significant change has been detected regarding general privacy concerns. Our contribution to the relevant information system privacy research mainly evolves around the relation between online engagement and information privacy.

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